In our quest for a healthier, more vibrant life, understanding our heart and how to care for it is paramount. Recently, Youngberg Wellness Centre in collaboration with the Singapore Adventist Conference (SAC) invited Dr Calvin Chin, an esteemed figure in the field of cardiovascular health, to shed light on this pressing concern.
About Dr Calvin Chin
Dr Chin is a Senior Consultant and Clinician Scientist at the National Heart Centre Singapore. Additionally, he holds a position as an Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School. His professional profile can be explored further at NHCS.
Crux of the Discussion
Rather than the all-too-familiar statistics that can be daunting, Dr Chin delved into actionable and personalised strategies:
- Modifiable vs. Unmodifiable Risk Factors: While age, gender, and family history might be out of our control, factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol are within our grasp. Act on what you can control.
- A Blueprint for Heart Health: Beyond just a checklist, embracing a holistic lifestyle which includes regular physical activity, a nutritious diet, stress management, maintaining a healthy weight, and steering clear of smoking can substantially reduce heart disease risk.
- Beyond BMI: While Body Mass Index is a known indicator of health, visceral fat is the real culprit. Employing tools like bio-impedance body fat machines or the waist-hip ratio can give more accurate insights.
- Exercise Trinity: For optimum heart health, balance is key. This includes exercises to burn excess fat, strengthen muscles, and enhance flexibility.
Addressing Heartfelt Concerns
In an engaging Q&A session, attendees posed pressing queries:
- Can medications clear arterial blockages? Unfortunately, no.
- How can I ascertain the adequacy of my exercise? The answer lies in monitoring heart rates, working within 40-80% of the max heart rate calculated as 220 minus your age.
- How can one assess heart efficiency? The Ultrasound/echo test is your go-to.
- Is a consistently high heart rate a red flag? Not always. Symptoms of heart disease can mirror those of anxiety, heartburn, and other conditions.
Leveraging Local Resources
Dr Chin highlighted the importance of government initiatives such as Healthier SG, Let's Beat Diabetes, and the Nutri-grade labelling. He lauded the decrease in smoking prevalence, attributing it to effective government policies like the heavy taxation of cigarettes.
Wrapping It Up
To encourage continued engagement, attendees were presented with resources and incentives. 'The Vegetarian Advantage' was gifted to participants who attended multiple sessions. SAC's health magazines were also available, providing a wealth of knowledge.
As a teaser for upcoming events, attendees were informed about Dr Gary Fraser's talk scheduled for 24 September, a session promising a deep dive into the Adventist Health Study.
by Faith Toh with additional reporting from Dr Eric Teo.