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Community Service


Your heart powers your whole body
It lets you love, laugh and live your life to the full.
That’s why it’s so important to look after it. If you don’t, you’re putting yourself at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke. CVD is the world’s number one killer. Each year, it’s responsible for 17.5 million premature deaths, and by 2030 this is expected to rise to 23 million.
But the good news is that much CVD can be prevented by making just a few simple daily changes, like eating and drinking more healthily, getting more exercise and stopping smoking.
So this World Heart Day, make sure you and your family take action to keep your heart charged and make a lasting difference to your health.
Fuel your heart.
Move your heart.
Love your heart.
And power your life.

Know your risk
Looking after your heart starts with understanding your risk, so make sure you know all your health numbers. Visit your healthcare professional and ask for a few simple checks. Remember, knowledge is power.
Eating and drinking well gives your heart the fuel it needs for you to live your life

  • Try not to eat so many processed and prepackaged foods which are often high in sugar and fat
  • Cut down on sugary beverages and fruit juices – choose water or unsweetened juices instead
  • Swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit as a healthy alternative
  • Try to eat 5 portions (about a handful each) of fruit and veg a day – they can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried
  • Keep the amount of alcohol you drink within recommended guidelines
  • Make your own healthy school or work lunches at home
Know your blood glucose levels

High blood glucose (blood sugar) can be indicative of diabetes. CVD accounts for 60% of all deaths in people with diabetes so if it’s left undiagnosed and untreated it can put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke

Staying active can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and feel great

·                     Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times a week
·                     Playing, walking, housework, dancing – they all count!
·                     Be more active every day – take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of driving
·                     Exercise with friends and family – you’ll be more motivated and it’s more fun!
·                     Before you start any exercise plan check with a healthcare professional
·                     Download an exercise app or use a pedometer to keep track of your progress
Know your blood pressure
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for CVD. It’s called the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it.
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health
                Within 2 years of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is substantially reduced
                Within 15 years the risk of CVD returns to that of a non-smoker
                Exposure to secondhand smoke is also a cause of heart disease in non-smokers
                So by quitting you’ll not only improve your health but that of those around you
                If you’re having trouble stopping smoking, ask for professional advice on how to quit
                You can also ask your employer if they provide smoking-cessation services
Know your cholesterol & BMI
Cholesterol is associated with around 4 million deaths per year so visit your healthcare professional and ask them to measure your levels, as well as your weight and body mass index (BMI). They’ll then be able to advise on your CVD risk so you can plan to improve your heart health.

EACH year, about 17.5 million lives are claimed by the world's largest killer - heart disease and stroke. In Malaysia, heart disease has been the number one killer for the past three decades. This statistic goes across the globe, making heart disease the most common cause of death worldwide.

This is why World Heart Day was created, to raise public awareness of risk factors for heart disease and stroke as well as to promote preventive measures to bring this alarming number down.

Today, as we celebrate World Heart Day,  let us take a moment to think how we can avoid becoming part of the heart disease statistic.

Your personal risks

How you treat your body will determine how susceptible you will be to heart disease in the future. It is heartening to know that important risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking are largely preventable. Knowing how to lower or eliminate each risk will help you remain in the best of health.

RISK #1: High cholesterol

Coronary heart disease is caused by cholesterol and fat deposition in the walls of the arteries (known as plaque), causing obstruction to blood flow. Sometimes the plaque may crack, giving rise to blood clot formation which obstructs the blood flow in the blood vessel completely. When this happens in the coronary arteries, a heart attack ensues.
One of the ways to lower your cholesterol is to have a daily diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and high in fibre. Be sure to include substantial servings of vegetables, fruits and whole grains such as oats everyday - all are good sources of fibre.
RISK #2: High blood pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can expose you to a host of complications, such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure as well as kidney failure. Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure is often present without any symptoms. Lifestyle plays an important role in avoiding high blood pressure or reducing it. One of the most crucial changes can be made by making a small reduction of sodium intake in your diet. Cut back on the salt gradually . Use natural herbs or spices, rather than salt, to add more flavour to your foods.

RISK #3: Diabetes

The third National Health & Morbidity Survey in 2006 showed that 14.9% (i.e. one in seven) of adult Malaysians have diabetes. It is estimated that diabetes could affect 25% of Malaysians by the year 2020.Managing your blood glucose level is very important in keeping heart disease at bay. A diabetic is often on the fast track to suffer from a heart attack due to elevated blood glucose levels. 

However, glucose levels can be controlled by watching what you eat. Make an attempt to implement dietary changes such as opting for kurang manis or less sugar when dining at your favourite mamak restourant . Do not forget the hidden sugar contained in foods such as sambal or gulai.
Little changes can go a long way in ensuring that your blood glucose level stays at a healthy level.

RISK #4: Obesity

Obesity increases your risk of developing heart disease. In order to control your weight, remember to have a balanced diet. Watch what you eat; after all, you are what you eat.

Even individuals who are overweight  and  obese are at increased risk. Losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight may alleviate many of the problems linked to being overweight. Moving toward a more physically active life is beneficial and usually produces great rewards. This does not necessarily require a rigorous exercise regime –  walking briskly for 30 minutes daily can produce an effect. Take the stairs instead of the lifts, park your car further, walk your pets and engage in sports that you enjoy.

Be conscious of your eating habits and aim to improve them. Include fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods in your diet. These foods will fill you up and are lower in calories than foods full of oils or fats.

There has been a tremendous amount of literature written on the impact of smoking on a person's health and wellbeing. According to the Minstry of Health's Anti-Smoking Campaign , it is estimated that smoking-related illnesses, including coronary heart disease, will kill 10 million Malaysians by 2030.
A person's risk of heart disease greatly increases with the number of cigarettes he or she smokes. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart disease compared to non-smokers.

If you are a smoker, make a pact to reduce the amount of cigarettes you smoke a day and get smoking out of your life. It will reduce your risk of developing heart disease, and prolong your life and lives of those around you.
If you are a non-smoker, avoid inhaling other people's smoke as non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or at work have an increased risk of developing heart disease by 25% to 30%.

Desirable blood values

The following are ideal blood values you should have to ensure reduced risk of heart disease:
Total cholesterol - less than 5.2 mmol/L
LDL-C - less than 3.3 mmol/L (< 1.8 mmol/L for high risk individuals)
HDL-C - more than 1.03 mmol/L (males); more than 1.3 mmol/L (females)
Triglycerides - less than 1.7 mmol/L
Body Mass Index - 18.5 - 24.9 kg/m2
Waist circumference - Men: less than 102cm (less than 90cm Asians);
Women: less than 88cm (less than 80cm Asians)
Blood pressure - less than 130/80mm/Hg
Blood glucose - less than 5.6mmol/L


Hypertension Information 

What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that will catch up with most people who live into older age. Blood pressure is the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries. When it's too high, it raises the heart's workload and can cause serious damage to the arteries. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease

Hypertension Symptoms

High blood pressure is sometimes called a silent killer because it may have no outward symptoms for years. In fact, one in five people with the condition don't know they have it. Internally, it can quietly damage the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, and kidneys if left untreated. It's a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks in the U.S

What Causes Hypertension?

Normal blood pressure readings will fall below 120/80, while higher results over time can indicate hypertension. In most cases, the underlying cause of hypertension is unknown. The top number (systolic) shows the pressure when your heart beats. The lower number (diastolic) measures pressure at rest between heartbeats, when the heart refills with blood. Occasionally, kidney or adrenal gland disease can lead to hypertension.

Prehypertension: A Warning Sign

Almost one-quarter of Americans have prehypertension. Their blood pressure is consistently just above the normal level -- falling anywhere betweeThe Hypertension Danger Zone  You have high blood pressure if readings average140/90 or higher -- for either number -- though you may still have no symptoms. At 180/110 and higher, you may be having a hypertensive crisis. Rest for a few minutes and take your blood pressure again. If it is still very high, call 911. A hypertensive crisis can lead to a stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, or loss of consciousness. Symptoms of a hypertensive crisis can include a severe headache, anxiety, nosebleeds, and feeling short of breath.
n 120 and 139 for systolic pressure or 80 to 89 for the diastolic pressure. People in this range have twice the risk of developing heart disease than those with a lower reading. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure

Who Gets High Blood Pressure?

Up to the age of 45, more men have high blood pressure than women. It becomes more common for both men and women as they age, and more women have hypertension by the time they reach 65. You have a greater risk if a close family member has high blood pressure or if you are diabetic. About 60% of people with diabetes have high blood pressure

Hypertension and Race

African-Americans are more likely to develop hypertension -- and to develop it at a younger age. Genetic research suggests that African-Americans seem to be more sensitive to salt. In people who have a gene that makes them salt-sensitive, just a half-teaspoon of salt can raise blood pressure by 5 mm Hg. Diet and excessive weight can play a role, as well.

Hypertension and Sodium

Sodium, a major component of salt, can raise blood pressure by causing the body to retain fluid, which leads to a greater burden on the heart. The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. You'll need to check food labels and menus carefully.  Processed foods contribute up to 75% of our sodium intake. Canned soups and lunch meats are prime suspects.

Hypertension and Stress

Stress can make your blood pressure spike, but there's no evidence that it causes high blood pressure as an ongoing condition. However, stress may affect risk factors for heart disease, so it may have an indirect connection to hypertension. Stress may lead to other unhealthy habits, such as a poor diet, alcohol use, or smoking, which can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Hypertension and Weight

Being overweight places a strain on your heart and increases your risk of high blood pressure. That is why diets to lower blood pressure are often also designed to control calories. They typically call for cutting fatty foods and added sugars, while increasing fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fiber.  Even losing 10 pounds can make a difference.

Hypertension and Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure. Guidelines from the American Heart Association state that if you drink alcohol, you should limit the amount to no more than two drinks a day for men, or one a day for women. They define a drink as one 12-ounce beer, four ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or one ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Hypertension and Caffeine

If caffeine can make you jittery, can it also raise your blood pressure? It might have a temporary effect, but studies haven't shown any link between caffeine and the development of hypertension. You can safely drink one or two cups a day, according to the American Heart Association

Hypertension and Pregnancy

Gestational hypertension is a kind of high blood pressure that occurs in the second half of pregnancy. Without treatment, it may lead to a serious condition called preeclampsia that endangers both the mother and baby. The condition can limit blood and oxygen flow to the baby and can affect  the mother's kidneys and brain. After the baby is born, the mother’s blood pressure usually returns to its normal level.

Hypertension and Medicine

Cold and flu medicines that contain decongestants are one of several classes of medicine that can cause your blood pressure to rise. Others include NSAID pain relievers, steroids, diet pills, birth control pills, and some antidepressants. If you have high blood pressure, talk to you doctor about what medicines and supplements you are taking that may affect blood pressure.

'White Coat' Hypertension

Some people only have a high reading in the doctor's office, perhaps because they're nervous. Some will only have blood pressure readings sporadically. Those people may have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure, a recent study shows. To get a more accurate reading, take your blood pressure at home, chart your readings, and share them with your doctor. It is also a good idea to bring in your home monitor in for a check. 

Hypertension and Children

While hypertension is more often a problem for older people, even children can have high blood pressure. "Normal" blood pressure varies based on a child’s age, height, and sex, so your doctor will need to tell you if there is a concern. Children are at greater risk if they are overweight, have a family history of the illness and if they're African-American.

Treatment: The DASH Diet

You may be able to lower your blood pressure by switching to a better diet. The DASH Diet -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- involves eating more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, and nuts. You should eat less red meat, saturated fats, and sweets. Reducing sodium in your diet can also have a significant effect.

Treatment: Exercise

Regular exercise helps lower your blood pressure. Adults should get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. That could include gardening, walking briskly, bicycling, or other aerobic exercise. Muscle-strengthening activities are recommended at least two days a week and should work all major muscle groups.

Treatment: Diuretics

Diuretics are often the first choice if diet and exercise changes aren't enough. Also called "water pills," they help the body shed excess sodium and water to lower blood pressure. That means you'll urinate more often. Some diuretics may deplete your body's potassium, causing muscle weakness, leg cramps, and fatigue. Some can increase blood sugar levels in diabetics. Erectile dysfunction is a less common side effect.

Treatment: Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers work by slowing the heart rate, which means that the heart doesn't have to work as hard. They are also used to treat other heart conditions, such as an abnormal heart rate called arrhythmia. They may be prescribed along with other medications. Side effects can include insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and erectile dysfunction.

Treatment: ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors reduce your body's supply of angiotensin II -- a substance that makes blood vessels contract and narrow. The result is more relaxed, open (dilated) arteries, as well as lower blood pressure and less effort for your heart. Side effects can include a dry cough, skin rash, or dizziness, and high levels of potassium. Women should not become pregnant while taking an ACE inhibitor.

Treatment: ARBs

Instead of reducing your body's supply of angiotensin II, these drugs block receptors for angiotensin -- as if placing a shield over a lock. This blockade prevents the chemical's artery-tightening effects, and lowers your blood pressure. ARBs can take several weeks to become fully effective. Possible side effects include dizziness, muscle cramps, insomnia, and high levels of potassium. Women should not become pregnant while taking this medication.

Treatment: Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers slow the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. Since calcium causes stronger heart contractions, these medications ease the heart's contraction and relax the blood vessels. They can cause dizziness, heart palpitations, swelling of the ankles, and constipation. Take them with food or milk and avoid grapefruit juice and alcohol because of possible interactions

Treatment: Other Medications

Other medications that relax the blood vessels include vasodilators, alpha blockers, and central agonists. Side effects can include dizziness, a fast heart beat or heart palpitations, headaches, or diarrhea. Your doctor may suggest them if other blood pressure medications are not working well enough or if you have another condition

Treatment: Complementary Therapies

Meditation can put your body into a state of deep rest, which can lower your blood pressure. Yoga, tai chi, and deep breathing also help. These relaxation techniques should be combined with other lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Be aware that herbal therapies may conflict with other medications you take, and some herbs actually raise blood pressure. Tell your doctor if you take herbal or other dietary supplements

Living With High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is often a life-long condition. It's important to take your medications and continue to monitor your blood pressure. If you keep it under control, you can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.

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