Associate Doctor Phạm Mạnh Hùng, deputy director general of the Việt Nam National Heart Institute. Photo suckhoedoisong.vn
Associate Doctor Phạm Mạnh Hùng, deputy director general of the Việt Nam National Heart Institute, talks to Khoa học & Đời sống (Science and Life) newspaper on how people can enjoy a long, healthy life.
What is the heart disease situation in Việt Nam?
The number of people with heart problems has reportedly increased rapidly in Việt Nam in recent years.
If in 1980, just about 10 per cent of Vietnamese patients had high blood pressure, in 2009, the figure jumped to 27 per cent among adults.
According to reports from hospitals, the number of people having problems with their hearts has increased rapidly in the last decade. A report from the Việt Nam Heart Institute found that about 10 years ago, each year some 300 people with heart diseases needed clinical intervention. Yet in 2016, the number of cases jumped to 3,500. Besides, the number of deaths related to heart diseases have increased by more than 10 times. And each year some 200,000 people die from heart failure.
Some 30 years ago, the disease pattern of heart problems was quite different from nowadays, particularly the number of people having arthritis problems has increased rapidly and the patients are getting younger and younger.
Will you please explain why more young people are having heart problems?
This can be attributed to the modern lifestyle, particularly among young people. In the past, most people with coronary artery disease were old, but nowadays, the disease has become rather common among all age groups in Việt Nam. A survey conducted in 2014 on high blood pressure among the Vietnamese population nationwide showed some 16.5 per cent of people with high blood pressure were under 40 years old. The main cause of such a high percentage of young people having high blood pressure is using a lot of fat/cooking oil in their daily food. Adding to that they don’t do much physical exercise while they drink a lot of alcohol and smoke.
In many serious cases, for people from 30-35 years old they even have problems with blood pressure, diabetes and others.
What are the most serious heart disease symptoms?
People with problems with their hearts need health checks regularly. Heart attacks, strokes and coronary artery diseases are the killers of many people. However, if they have lived a healthy life, I’m sure they will enjoy a life of longevity.
Health specialists have recommended that everyone should have health checks regularly. And what’s more important, everyone should remember their blood pressure, their height, weight, age and some other details. And if anyone detects any unusual symptom in their physical health they should go to see the doctor immediately.
Why do many patients seek medical help too late?
Many patients come to the hospital too late. In our medical term we often say they have missed “the golden time” to save their life. So, in my opinion, we should launch campaigns to raise people’s awareness about “the golden time" to save someone’s life.
People should have their health checked periodically and if they have symptoms of heart pain they should go to the hospital immediately. A message I want to send to all people is “within 60 minutes if you find anything abnormal with your heart, just go to the hospital immediately. This is a golden time to save your life”.
Will you please explain a little bit further about the “the golden time” for a patient with heart disease?
The phrase “the golden time” means it is the best time for a patient to recover and avoid a heart attack. The phrase is often applied to people with very weak hearts who are likely to suffer a heart attack. The “golden time” is the first six hours when the patient having heart attack symptoms like an ache in their chest. However, in real life just about 40 per cent of patients arrive at hospital in the “golden time”.
Heart disease is very serious, yet everyone can prevent it if they all adopt a healthy lifestyle – particularly by abstaining from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. VNS