National Heart Week intensifies fight against high blood cholesterol

The Singapore Heart Foundation is waging war against high blood cholesterol in this year's National Heart Week and World Heart Day. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - High blood cholesterol may be a silent killer but this risk factor for cardiovascular disease is also one of the most modifiable.

The Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF) is waging war against high blood cholesterol in this year's National Heart Week and World Heart Day, with initiatives like a collaboration with e-commerce giant Shopee to feature heart-friendly products.

It is concerned because the prevalence of high blood cholesterol increased from 25.2 per cent in 2010 to 39.1 per cent in 2020, according to the National Population Health Survey 2020.

About one in three deaths in Singapore every year between 2009 and 2019 was due to cardiovascular disease, with high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking flagged as major risk factors.

In the tie-up with Shopee, users of its supermarket platform can tap a list of cholesterol-free foods curated by SHF's dietitian.

On Saturday, SHF also held a two-day roadshow at Our Tampines Hub to raise public awareness and promote preventive measures for cardiovascular disease.

The booths featured healthier foods like sugar-free soy milk, wholegrain bread and brown rice.

Speaking at the event, Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said that apart from adopting healthy diets, engaging in regular physical activity also helps to manage blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

He added: "It is important to go for regular health screening for early detection of chronic diseases to enable early intervention."

He noted that based on the National Population Health Survey 2020, among all Singapore residents with high blood cholesterol or hypertension, slightly more than half had not been previously diagnosed with the conditions.

Dr Janil urged Singaporeans to take advantage of subsidised screening programmes and take charge of their health.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in March he found out he had high levels of cholesterol after going for a health screening, and subsequently adjusted his diet.

Dr Low Lip Ping, cardiologist and chairman emeritus of SHF, said: "The incidence of high blood cholesterol in our population is worrying. High blood cholesterol is a silent killer as it usually does not present any symptoms but it is, at the same time, one of the most modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.