Heart disease is still the number one killer among all illnesses in the Philippines, comprising 33% of the mortality rate among Filipinos. Along with other top killer diseases like cancer and diabetes, heart problems pose an increasing threat to our health as we age.
It is very important that we take care of our heart and keep it strong and healthy so we can have more years of this life with our loved ones.
In a recent ManilaMed Health Line episode titled “Why You Should Care for Your Heart,” Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Enrique Campos discussed the three most common forms of cardiovascular diseases in the country — Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease, Valvular Heart Disease, and Congenital Heart Disease.
Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease occurs when the arteries, the main blood vessels, are blocked and narrowed due to cholesterol buildup (this buildup is called “plaque”). Usually, a heavy sensation in the chest and other parts including the arms and jaw is a sign of this disease.
Valvular Heart Disease is a condition where one or more of the four heart valves are damaged, disrupting the flow of blood in the upper and lower chambers of the heart. It may result from having rheumatic fever during childhood.
Congenital Heart Disease is a birth defect that occurs when the heart structure is not properly formed in the womb.
Aside from the mentioned ailments, there are other forms of cardiovascular diseases, such as irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias. These depend on a person’s exposure to various risk factors.
According to Dr. Campos, these risk factors include the following:
Poor lifestyle choices
Ultimately, poor lifestyle choices and smoking greatly contribute in the chances of having one. Lack of balanced diet and exercise can contribute to developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar—conditions that can lead to improper blood flow and heart function.
Family history also counts as a risk factor as there are higher chances of having the disease if immediate family members also have it.
Dr. Campos also stated that stress can also be a factor in developing cardiovascular diseases.
“Stress is a factor that can certainly add to the problem of heart disease although it is very hard to quantify or measure how much stress one experiences. Whatever kind of stress it may be, it can add to high blood pressure which is a risk factor of developing vascular diseases.”
If exposed to these factors, some symptoms may usually show from middle to advanced age but they can also be present at early adulthood — depending on the person. It can hinder daily activities and unfortunately, can be fatal too.
Symptoms of cardiovascular diseases may include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen feet
- Chest pain
- Easy fatigue
To have optimum heart health, Dr. Campos suggested regular consultation with a doctor to get proper diagnosis and treatment. He also mentioned the following measures to reduce the development of the risk factors:
- Proper rest and relaxation to avoid or alleviate stress.
- Healthy diet composed of low-sodium, low-fat, and a reduced consumption of red meat.
- Simple exercises such as brisk walking for 150 minutes per week.
Patients with blocked coronary arteries may need to undergo Angiogram and Angioplasty, a procedure that opens blockages in these blood vessels. This and similar modern medical treatments for heart disease are fast, efficient, and most importantly, safe.
Caring for your heart is important to experience the most out of life. Start loving it with proper care as early as possible. The ManilaMed Cardiovascular Catheterization and Intervention Center is a state of the art facility offers comprehensive services that will give your heart the healing touch it needs. Visit our website or call 523.8131 loc. 7797 / 7799 (Cath Lab) today.