Experts raise public awareness of heart attack

Silver Sneakers

MANILA — Medical experts recently underscored the importance of taking care of one’s heart and health to prevent heart-related diseases.

Philippine Heart Association (PHA) Director Dr. Ronald Cuyco said the Philippines remains to be one of the countries with high prevalence of heart attack, prompting the group to launch a national heart attack prevention campaign.

“Basically, this campaign will focus on awareness, education, what is heart attack, and also the prevention aspect because a patient who had a heart attack has a lot of expenses,” he said.

Citing 2013 data from the Department of Health regarding the top causes of mortality among Filipinos, Cuyco said cardiovascular diseases hold the highest percentage of deaths.

“According to the World Health Organization 2016, out of 103 million people, the total number of deaths is 663,000 but look at the vascular diseases, it’s 25 percent and it’s very high,” he said.

Cuyco said high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are the common risk factors of heart attack.

“Chest pain, what you call angina, is caused by the clogging of nerves in the heart. The early warning signs of heart attack includes prolonged compressing pain, which may radiate to shoulder, arm, neck or jaw and sometimes you feel shortness of breath, vomiting, or nauseous,” he said.

PHA Council on Cardiac Catheterization and Intervention Dr. Eric Sison also said people who have experienced heart attack can still enjoy longer life through proper treatment.

“The most effective treatment for heart attack is primary angioplasty, where there is a balloon-like (object) inserted (in the heart) to open the clogged nerves or the second line treatment is to give medicine, which could dissolve the clots and all must be given within 12 hours for them to be effective,” he said.

PHA Vice President Dr. Aurelia Leus said having a healthy lifestyle is key to avoiding heart attack.

“A few of our advocacies is the 52100 campaign and it means five servings of fruit and vegetables, two hours of screen time only for children, two grams of salt in food, one hour of exercise daily or one-minute movement every hour, and zero sugary beverages and zero smoking,” she said.

Leus urged the public to live a healthy life so they can enjoy better and longer the fruits of their hard work.

“Our other advocacies include sneakers Friday, which encourages people to wear sneakers on Fridays so they’ll walk for at least an hour, which is good for the heart. We also have the CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) hands only, which encourages everybody even children one year and above to learn CPR and be able to save lives,” she added. (PNA)