December 4th, 2013
Over the past week, three patients came to see me because of myocardial infarction. Their ages ranged from 30’s to 40’s.
Myocardial infarction happens when the artery is suddenly blocked and blood cannot flow to the heart muscles. After 30 minutes, the heart muscles will start to die, causing heart attack. Usually, it is more common among men over 45 years old and menopausal women. Younger patients often fall victims to this because of smoking, genetic, high blood pressure, diabetes or family history of myocardial infarction at a young age.
November 27th, 2013
Recently, soy protein is all the rage because it is said to carry loads of health benefits. However, people often resort to supplementary pills rather than natural sources such as soy milk or tofu.
Tofu is a great source of protein and it is also rich in fibers and vitamin B. Soy milk and tofu are low in saturated fat and contains iso-flavones which helps reduce blood cholesterol level. Iso-flavones is also reported to reduce hot flushes in menopausal women, and help protect your bones and your heart, as well as ward off some kinds of cancer.
November 20th, 2013
Antiplatelet agents, anticoagulant agents (anti-clotting agents) and thrombolytic agents are drugs that interfere with the blood’s ability to clot and prevent blood clots from forming. There are actually three types of them but most people (even doctors) are often mistaken that they are all the same and mix up their names, functions and qualities.
First of all, it is important to know that blood clotting is a defense mechanism of the body when there is an injury either internal or external. Platelets will form around the wound and stimulate protein in the blood to create blood clots to stop the bleeding and fix the tissues around that area. For external wound, you can see scab where the wound is. This is to prevent blood from leaving the body or leaking into internal organs. The clotting of the blood starts at the platelets.
November 13th, 2013
My patients often ask me what causes coronary artery disease (narrowed artery). This sounds like a simple question but it’s very difficult to answer… because I don’t know! I mean, we doctors have not found the exact cause. Logically speaking, if there’s a cause, there’s an effect. For instance, if you butthead the wall, of course your head will hurt. However, coronary artery disease is not like that. Not every smoker gets narrowed artery and not every coronary artery disease patient smokes (and so many keep smoking). Still, most smokers have narrowed artery and many coronary artery disease patients just happen to be a smoker!
November 6th, 2013
Recently there has been news about new technologies for detecting and curing heart diseases. While the news is good to hear, it can be confusing for both the people, doctors in general or even cardiologists. The abundance of choices leave all of us dazed which one to go for.
It is not difficult to determine the best option but let’s be clear that every technology has its own risks, and not detecting and not curing is pretty risky too!
Therefore, before making a decision, new technologies must be thoroughly studied and it should be decided whether the invasiveness of such technology would make the condition worse than not checking at all. If it poses that many risks, sometimes it is better to do nothing about it.
October 30th, 2013
I’ve recently been to America, and I saw many changes that I would like to share with my dear readers.
As a cardiologist, I must say I am happy to see these changes because they are good for the heart. I remember in the past, when I went to America and wanted to order food, I would feel very uncomfortable because the portion was much bigger than what I would normally eat back home. It’s at least twice the size! Not so surprisingly, America was full of obese people. Food usually came in a large portion, and who would hurt the chef’s feeling by leaving such delicious food on the plate? Besides, having paid so much for it, I wouldn’t want to leave a grain of rice.
October 23rd, 2013
More than half of my heart patients are aged over 65 years.
Well, that doesn’t come as a surprise, given the fact that the older you get, the less healthy you are. However, I expect that in the very near future, over a half of these heart patients will be over 75 years old. Life expectancy is getting longer these days, and I think there will be more senior patients, too.
Life expectancy of Thai people increased from 70 in 1997 to almost 80 in 2005. Statistics have shown that in the United States, senior citizens (aged 65 and over) make 12% of its population. It is predicted that in 2030 there will be over 70 million senior citizens. In Thailand, the number of people aged 60-79 is around 6.2 million, and there are 755,500 people who are 80 or older. In total, about 7 million people in Thailand are older than 60 years old, representing 11% of Thai population.
October 16th, 2013
A patient once asked me whether a heart could talk, because all doctors always listen to the heart. I corrected him that I actually listen to the heart valves most of the time, and no, they don’t talk. Or maybe they do talk, but in a language incomprehensible for us human being.
In Thai, the heart valves are called the heart’s tongue, and in fact, they do share some similarities. They are both soft and flexible, but the tongue enjoys a bit more freedom but the heart valves are quite restricted and can only move when the heart says so.
While the tongue helps us pronounce words and push food down the food tract, the heart valves also guide blood into the right direction. This means the tongue is greeted with many bacteria, while the heart valves are relatively clean.
October 9th, 2013
Ischemic heart disease and coronary heart disease can sometimes be confusing matters, as they share similarities. Ischemic heart disease means some areas of the heart do not get enough blood flow, and it does not necessary mean the blockage is due to narrowed artery. Likewise, a narrowed artery does not always result in not enough blood supply to the heart, ischemic heart disease. However, most of the time, these two buddies come to visit together.
Think of your heart as a water pump that sends blood to every part of your body, and each part’s demand is different depending on what you are doing. If you have just eaten, the blood flows more to the digestive system. When you are stressed out, the brain needs more blood. When you are exercising, the blood flow to your muscles increases. When you are sleeping, the heart gets to rest a little (not entirely, because it still has to beat). It is estimated that in a day, your heart beats around 100,000 times. Continue reading “TLC for your arteries” »
October 2nd, 2013
During the past few years, we often hear about avian flu, and chicken is a part of the spreading of this epidemic. Avian flu can actually be fatal, but it seems like chicken meat is just too tasty to pass up. The popularity is still rising despite all the news about bird’s flu.
Chicken meat is a healthy kind of protein compared to other kinds of meat (especially red meat like beef and pork). Skinned chicken meat has lower fat content and fewer calories than beef. Chicken breast is the part with the least fat and the least calories. Drumsticks and chicken wings are three times higher in fat than chicken breast, and have 25% higher calories.