The heart is both an extraordinary organ and a muscle, which works 24/7 to maintain our bodies function.
Because it is an important part of our bodies, taking care of it becomes all the more important.
Heart disease refers to health conditions that affect the normal functioning of the heart.
Some of these conditions are heart rhythm issues, blood vessel problems, or heart diseases present at birth, or congenital heart disease.
Also referred to as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), heart diseases can profoundly affect our lives.
Ischemic heart diseases, or coronary artery diseases, are the leading cause of death for Filipinos, which tally at 14.5 percent of all deaths.
It’s been the leading cause of death for several years now, with other heart diseases further contributing to an additional 3.8 percent of deaths in 2017.
Clearly, heart diseases pose a significant threat to the health of Filipinos. A current trend shows that more and more young adults and adolescents experience some sort of cardiovascular disease (CVD) early in childhood.
Who is at risk for Heart Disease?
Those who are more at risk are those with pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related health issues.
Because they’re normally relatively young compared to individuals who often encounter heart diseases, parents and even some physicians tend to miss early signs of the disease.
Given that, there is a clear need to be aware of these risks, as well as some steps that you can take to improve your heart health and reduce these risks for yourself.
Causes and Risk Factors
While a lot of the risk factors for contracting heart diseases are genetic in nature, doctors still identify several factors that involve a person’s lifestyle.
For instance, heart diseases in young people are more attributed to genetic predisposition, but their risks increase with age and lifestyle.
Knowing these risk factors and learning whether they can be managed or controlled is key to maintaining overall heart health. Want to know how to improve heart health? Take note of these risk factors:
- History of heart and other cardiovascular diseases in the family
- High blood pressure
- Medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol
- Poor diet and excessive alcohol use
- Sedentary lifestyle
Being able to manage just a few of these risks, or preventing these risks from developing altogether, would make a big difference in protecting your heart.
And it all starts with managing the most basic conditions that can lead to more serious conditions.
Hypertension is having blood pressure that exceeds the healthy range.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines high blood pressure as having systolic blood pressure equal to or above 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure equal to or above 90 mm Hg.
When a person is hypertensive, their blood exerts extra pressure on the arteries. This causes numerous health problems.
Most exhibit no symptoms, and so hypertension is often called the ‘silent killer’.
Atherosclerosis when the blood vessels harden due to progressive buildup of fatty deposits.
This hardening disrupts blood flow, and thus affects the normal functioning of organs that rely on the heart to function.
Atherosclerosis also increases the risk of blood clot formation. And when left untreated, it can cause life-threatening conditions, such as heart attack or stroke.
Heart arrhythmias are conditions that disrupt the rhythm of the heart. This is also defined as an irregular heartbeat, with the heart either beating too slow, too fast, or erratically.
Scarring in the heart tissues or abnormal changes in electrical impulses that control the heart are some of the most common causes. But rhythm changes can also be congenital, or a response to existing disease or injury.
Common Heart Diseases in the Philippines
Coronary Artery Disease
Atherosclerosis can lead to Coronary Artery Disease, or the blockage of coronary arteries. This restricts proper circulation, to the heart muscle.
Lack of blood supply leads to poor oxygenation. This can lead to chest pain or angina.
And in more severe cases, coronary artery disease can lead to heart attack.
Heart Valve Disease
The heart valves are responsible for proper blood flow within the heart. When even one of these four valves malfunction, it can disrupt circulation. For instance, it can cause leakages or backflow of blood.
While some people with heart valve conditions can show no symptoms, others may experience heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.
Heart valve disease can lead to other heart conditions, such as hypertension and heart failure.
Rheumatic Heart Disease
When inflammation due to rheumatic fever damages the heart valves, it can lead to rheumatic heart disease.
Rheumatic fever is typically caused by a strep throat infection. It can cause several complications, such as heart infection or heart failure.
Congestive Heart Failure
Also known simply as heart failure, congestive heart failure occurs when the heart fails to sufficiently supply the body with blood.
Congestive heart failure can lead to complications like irregular blood flow. This happens when blood or fluid flows back into the lungs.
CHF can also lead to fluid retention, or edema, throughout the body or breathing problems.
Taking care of your heart is not a one-time thing; it’s a lifelong process that is truly worth committing to. And aside from
Though heart diseases are some of the most common causes of illness and death in the Philippines, they’re also some of the most preventable with simple lifestyle changes at any age.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.