Cost of Heart Diseases: Heart Attack, Cardiac Arrest, Ischemic Heart Disease, and More

heart diseases heart health cost of heart procedures

The next time you joke “my heart can’t take it,” know that that hits a bit too close to home for a lot of people in Singapore.

Every day, 17 people die from cardiovascular disease in Singapore. In fact, 1 out of every 3 deaths in Singapore is due to heart disease or stroke.

Preventive care is often key to manage heart disease. Here’s how to prevent and manage heart disease, and how much it will cost to do so.


Heart disease treatment and cost

The most common form of heart disease is ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease. This involves the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, causing them to narrow and have to work harder to convey blood to the heart.

There are various medications and surgical procedures designed to treat heart ischemic heart disease so as to lower the possibility of blood clots forming or a heart attack happening.

  • Medications:  Medications can help to reduce blood clotting, regulate the heart rate and mitigate complications. They can cost up to $200 a month.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: This is otherwise known as open heart surgery, and involves creating a pathway around the blockage for the blood to reach the heart. The procedure together with consultations and hospital stay can cost an estimated $20,000 to $40,000 in Singapore, but varies greatly depending on your situation.
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention: This procedure involves insertion of a small balloon or metal coil or stent into the artery to reopen the blockage. Budget anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, depending on whether a balloon or stent is used.


What are the other common heart diseases in Singapore and their causes?

Heart disease is not one single condition. Rather, it is an umbrella term used to refer to multiple conditions that are considered diseases of the heart, including the following:

  • Ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular diseases including stroke
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Rheumatic heart disease

There are several causes of heart disease, some that are preventable and some that aren’t. Some of them include the following:

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine
  • Drug abuse
  • Certain types of medications or supplements


What are some heart attack symptoms?

Not all heart attacks begin with the same types or severity of symptoms. In fact, some people only experience mild pain or even exhibit no symptoms at all.

Here are some common symptoms.

  • Tightness, pain or pressure in the chest or arms that may extend to other parts of the body like the neck, back or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sweats
  • Sudden feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness


What is the difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack?

The mechanics of cardiac arrests and heart attacks are very different.

Heart attacks occur when a coronary artery gets blocked. This prevents blood from flowing to the heart, causing it to suffering a shortage of oxygen.

A cardiac arrest, on the other hand, happens when the heart stops pumping blood, the result being that the person stops breathing normally. Cardiac arrests can happen as a result of a heart attack.


Does your insurance cover heart disease?

Most health insurance policies in Singapore should cover hospitalisation and associated costs due to heart disease. Do note, however, that you usually must be hospitalised in order to make a claim.

However, your claim will be rejected if your heart disease is a pre-existing condition. Therefore, if you already have (or suspect that you have) heart disease but don’t yet have medical insurance, you should sign up for an insurance policy that covers you for pre-existing conditions.


How do you prevent heart disease?

Unless they have a congenital defect, people do not develop heart disease overnight. It is something that builds up over many years.

There’s lots you can do to prevent heart disease. The main thing is to be consistent and build good habits, such as the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats, sodium and added sugars.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol or coffee.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly and adjust your lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure.
  • Get tested for diabetes and if you are diabetic, keep your condition under control.
  • Prioritise stress management.
  • Ensure that you get enough sleep.

The steps to preventing heart disease sound suspiciously like, well, generic tips for living a healthier lifestyle. But here’s the thing–if you are already at risk of heart disease, you need to do ALL of the above, not just one or two.

If you generally eat healthily, get enough exercise and are at a healthy weight, one factor you might want to pay special attention to is stress management, which can dramatically affect blood pressure and heart health. So do make deliberate choices to spend your time in ways that lower your stress levels. You’ll not only see an improvement in your heart health but also your general wellbeing.

Do you have any questions about treating heart disease in Singapore? Leave them in the comments!