Singaporeans suffer heart failure about 10 years earlier than Americans and Europeans: Study

People cross a road in Orchard Road on March 20.
People cross a road in Orchard Road on March 20. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE- Singaporeans suffer from heart failure at the average age of 61, about 10 years earlier than Americans and Europeans, a study on Asian patients has found.

Singaporeans also have a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes, the three most common diseases that lead to heart failure, compared to Asians as a whole, Americans and Europeans.

In Singapore, 58 per cent of patients in the study had diabetes, compared to 40 per cent in Asia, and the United States and 33 per cent in Europe.

Presenting the findings on Thursday (June 16) at the National Heart Centre Singapore(NHCS), the principal investigator of the study, Associate Professor Carolyn Lam said:

"In Singapore, we have transitioned rapidly, and it's now the baby boomers who have reached that age of 60, and they are manifesting heart failure from these risk factors."

The study, involving more than 5,000 patients from the region, also found that Malays from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are at the highest risk of heart failure.

It found that 62 per cent of Malays had hypertension, compared to 58 per cent of Chinese and 43 per cent of Indians.

"The silver lining is that most cardiovascular risk factors are modifiable. In other words, there is a lot we can do to reduce or prevent the risk of hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease, " said Dr Lam, who is a senior consultant at the Department of Cardiology at NHCS.

Describing them as "lifestyle diseases," she said that even simple acts of walking more and taking the stairs, coupled with eating appropriate portions of food, can cut the risk of getting these diseases, and therefore, heart failure.