Love is where the heart is

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Friday, February 14, 2014


FEBRUARY, they say, is the love month what Valentine's Day falling on the 14th. It's no wonder that love-themed movies will be shown this month as malls and other establishments tend to commercialize it by showcasing red-colored and heart-shaped shopping or food ideas. Heart-shaped doughnuts, cakes and mamons are in, too, joining traditional favorites red roses and red heart-shaped balloons.

But one need not wait for February to take care of his or her heart. As a recent study still puts cardiovascular diseases as the No. 1 cause of mortality in the Philippines, special attention must be given to keep every Filipino's heart healthy for the sake of love and life.

Dr. Arnold T. Pasia, head of adult cardiology section-internal medicine (IM) department of Southern Philippines Medical Center-Heart Institute (SPMC-HI), suggests a therapeutic lifestyle change for those with high risk factors like smoking, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and hypertension, among others.

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"It's also a risk factor if one has a history of heart disease, meaning a brother or father had a cardiac death below 55 years old or a cardiac death for females in the family below 65. That would give them the idea that they have the genes that would put their hearts at risk too, for males when they are 45-above or 55-above for females,” Dr. Pasia said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao.

Keeping a healthy heart

For those with a heart ailment already, regular check-up with your doctor is a must and so is taking your prescribed medicines. Patients who underwent bypass surgery must undergo a cardiac rehab under the supervision of trained medical staff in a hospital.

Dr. Pasia, the head of heart station/echocardiology laboratories at ABHWC, SPMC-HI, Ricardo Limso Medical Center, Davao Adventist Hospital, UM Heart Institute and Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF), also said that those who don't have the risk factors may start living a healthy lifestyle by doing regular exercise and eating healthy.

For everybody else, exercise should be at least 45 minutes in most days of the week (no more than two consecutive days without exercise). Exercising every other day at least 45 minutes is a good way to start a healthier fitness habit.

"Aerobic exercise like dancing is good for the heart. If you have risk factors, undergo a stress test first so your doctor can give you advise about activities or exercises that you can do," he said.

He added that if one is hypertensive, take less salty and fatty foods while diabetics must control their diet by eating more fish and vegetables. Put consumption of alcohol in moderation.

For obese, "lose weight". Obese people, according to him, are in high risk of hypertension and diabetes.

He urged parents to start feeding their children right by exposing them more to eating fish and vegetables and less trip to fast-food chains.

Minimize TV or gadget time and get them to exercise regularly since young kids may also develop risk factors. Get enough of sleep and water intake daily.

It's also interesting to note that "lonely heart" will make one sick. "Studies would show that the lonely heart or those with problems in life, stressed out and depressed are prone to develop high incidence of cardiovascular diseases," said the heart expert who was the first to perform a contrast echocardiography using Optison in the entire Philippines at the Alexian Brothers Health & Wellness Center (ABHWC), thus, earning him an invitation as speaker in national convention in cardiology particularly in the field of echocardiography.

So give yourself and your loved ones the best Valentine's Day gift of a healthy heart.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 14, 2014.

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