Lifestyle to blame as one in three Singaporeans die from cardiovascular diseases

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  • The warning comes from a forum devoted to discussing the unique features of Asian patients of cardiovascular diseases
  • Physical inactivity, the lack of a healthy diet and a diabetes epidemic are to blame for the steep rise of cardiovascular diseases in Singapore
Purchasing power among Singaporeans has also increased, allowing people to buy and eat more food than ever before. PC:Pixabay
Purchasing power among Singaporeans has also increased, allowing people to buy and eat more food than ever before. PC:Pixabay

Singaporeans’ urban lifestyle is a silent killer. Rapid industrialization and urbanization over the past 50 years have changed the habits of people living in urban areas, resulting in more sedentary lifestyles, a less healthy diet and a steep rise in cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes.  One in three Singaporeans dies from the growing silent epidemic of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke.

The warning was highlighted at the CardioVascular Clinical Trialists (CVCT) Asia Forum 2018, hosted in Singapore from 14-15 July and organized with an unrestricted grant by the Menarini International Foundation. Now into its third edition, the CVCT Asia Forum aims to point out the gaps in knowledge and unmet needs that need to be urgently addressed in cardiovascular clinical trials in Asia.

Speaking at the event, CVCT Asia Forum 2018 Course Director, Prof Carolyn Lam said, “One in three Singaporeans die from cardiovascular diseases, affecting both men and women, causing a huge disease burden. Singapore also has one of the fastest rising prevalence of diabetes compared to any other country in the world. It appears that Asians are predisposed to a lean diabetic phenotype, perhaps related to deprivation as kids or even in utero. Statistics show that one in ten Singaporean adults is diabetic, it’s a really a big problem.”

“Singapore’s unique multicultural and multiethnic society provides an “open-air lab” for epidemiological studies. For example, researchers have found that there is a higher rate of diabetes among Malays and Indians, with a predisposition to heart diseases at a younger age,” added Prof Lam, who is also the Director of Clinical Trials at the National Heart Centre Singapore.

“Another feature unique to Singapore is the extraordinarily fast epidemiologic shift resulting from rapid development. In 50 years, Singapore has grown into a metropolis, introducing new western lifestyles and development while purchasing power has also increased to allow people to buy and eat more food than ever before. At the same time, people have also become less active, adding to the immense epidemic of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in Singapore” said Prof Lam.

This year, the CVCT Asia Forum had more than 200 participants and key opinion leaders from across the United States, Europe and Asia gathered, to discuss the newest advances in cardiovascular clinical trials and the future of cardiovascular precision medicine.

“Singapore’s location in the heart of Asia was a particularly apt venue for the CVCT Asia Forum 2018 as the region’s population faces a growing problem of cardiometabolic diseases. With the attendance of colleagues from top clinical trial centres in Europe and the United States as well as participants from China and India, we were able to hold insightful discussions, gain key lessons and new knowledge at the Forum.”