MANILA - The Philippine Heart Association (PHA) and Philippine College of Cardiology on Wednesday reminded the public to pay attention to the health of their heart, as the groups celebrate World Heart Day.
Ischemic heart diseases remain the number one cause of death in the country, doctors noted, followed by cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes mellitus, based on January to June 2021 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
According to latest figures, ischaemic heart diseases caused 18.7 percent of deaths in the country in the first half of this year, while 10.2 percent were attributed to cerebrovascular diseases.
Cancer was behind nine percent of deaths, while 6.5 percent were due to diabetes mellitus.
Deaths from COVID-19, meanwhile, accounted for 5.7 percent of deaths during the same period.
"Ang World Heart Day ay taon-taong sine-celebrate sa buong mundo dahil hanggang ngayon, number one pa rin ang sakit sa puso na kumukuha, kumikitil (ng buhay), binabawasan ang mga pamilya," said PHA President Gilbert Vilela.
(World Heart Day is celebrated globally because until now, heart disease is the number one cause of deaths.)
How to keep your heart healthy
To keep one's heart healthy, the PHA said one must eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, limit daily screen time to a maximum of two hours, and exercise for at least an hour daily.
They are also encouraging the public to avoid smoking and vaping, and to stay away from sugary drinks.
Dr. Christina Kristin Reyes said there are practical ways to include fruits and vegetables in one's diet despite one’s busy schedule or limited budget.
“We recommend food na 'di madaling mabulok (that doesn't spoil easily)--apples, peras (pears). You can consider frozen fruits,” she said.
"Do shakes, vegetable smoothies. Combine brocolli, beetroot, ampalaya, spinach, haluan mo ng putas (mix in fruits). I try to put in 7 colors para iba’t iba ng phytonutrients (so you get different phytonutrients). Make a shake today that will last for two days, put it in the ref," she added.
Reyes advised the public to choose fresh food whenever possible.
Vilela said people must also consume a lot of protein.
"Ang pinaka-importante sa lahat (The most important of all is), protein. Protein is equivalent to immunity. 'Pag walang pera (If you are short on money), dilis, galunggong--those are very good sources of protein,” he said.
Fitness trainers Jim and Toni Saret, meanwhile, said some aerobic and weight exercises can be done even while sitting down, and all in just 1 to 3 minutes.
Stop smoking, vaping
Doctors also warned that smoking and the use of any type of vapes or e-cigarettes is dangerous to one's health, and encouraged smokers and vapers to seek professional assistance to help them quit.
“Marami sa mga Filipinos ang nagkaroon ng attempts to quit (cold turkey), but only four percent ang naging successful,” said Philippine College of Physicians President Maricar Limpin.
(Many Filipinos try to quit cold turkey, but only four percent are successful.)
"Masyadong mababa...We have to realize that ang paninigarilyo is a chronic disease. It is a form of addiction. And just like with any other addiction, kailangan nila ng professional help.”
(This is too low... We have to realize that smoking is a chronic disease. It is a form of addiction. And just like with any other addiction, they need professional help.)