Cardiovascular disease knows no age, MakatiMed offers advice to keeping your heart young and healthy for years
Husband told me he will be home late today. His friend just died after he collapsed from a heart attack. The very same way how Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao died in the latter part of last year. Gao was only 35, still at the prime of his life and yet shocked the world with his untimely death – heart attack.
Gao, by the way, was the first Asian to model for Louis Vuitton. He collapsed while competing in the reality show Chase Me. Attempts to revive him both on set and in the hospital were unsuccessful. Was his untimely death had something to do with his lifestyle?
Top Philippine hospital Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed), through its Heart Station, answers the intriguing question of the many: Are you too young to have a heart problem?
Heart disease is not an old man’s disease
For years, heart disease has been thought of as an illness of the middle-aged and elderly. Many consider it as a condition that happens over time and through the cumulative effects of bad habits like smoking, drinking, drugs, lack of exercise, unhealthy food choices, and lifestyle.
Saturnino P. Javier, MD, Section Chief of Cardiology at MakatiMed explains that “genetics, family history, and undiagnosed or untreated congenital abnormalities certainly increase one’s chances of developing heart disease.” One’s lifestyle choice, too, may trigger diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure – risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. One’s preference for fast food, processed food, and alcohol coupled with a sedentary lifestyle of smoking and sitting all day with gadgets lead to obesity, may trigger the onset of diabetes, and the like. The kind doctor further stresses that “the role of drugs, alcohol, and stressful situations cannot be underestimated.”
Are you too young to have a heart problem?
While people in their 20s and 30s tend to feel invincible at these decades of their lives, they should also be aware of the subtle signs of a possible heart problem. “Symptoms include breathlessness, palpitations, fatigue, chest pain, weakness, and edema,” Dr. Javier adds. “Other symptoms not immediately associated with heart problems are pain in the left arm, jaw, back, neck, shoulder blades, and the upper abdomen.”
Interestingly, women with heart disease experience their own set of symptoms. “Excess fatigue, cold sweats, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even fainting are among the warning signs that they tend to dismiss or mistake as flu,” Dr. Javier points out.
“But it should also be emphasized that heart disease can be present with no symptoms at all. That is why we also refer to it as a silent killer,” he explains.
Heart disease knows no age
Heart disease may know no age, but it’s also something that can be avoided or managed at best with practical solutions. Dr. Javier advises, “First, have yourself checked by a family physician to get a baseline of your overall health, including your heart condition. Find out if you have any pre-existing conditions and what you can do to address them. And see your doctor regularly to monitor your health.”
The simplest, of course, is revamping your lifestyle. This solution affects not only your heart in a good way but your overall health, too. “Exercise regularly, eat more fruits, vegetables, and quality protein, and avoid smoking, drinking, or drugs,” says Dr. Javier.
For more information, contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.8888 8999 or visit www.makatimed.net.ph.