To combat rising heart-related issues among Filipinos, Proclamation No. 1096 s. 1973 declares February every year as “Philippine Heart Month.” This month-long observance seeks to shed light on the escalating prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death among Filipinos and emphasizing the critical need for heightened awareness of heart health.
Heart diseases, including cardiovascular disorders (CVDs), pose a significant health threat in the Philippines. According to the 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) data, CVDs claim approximately 50,000 lives annually, ranking as the leading cause of death in the country. Contributing factors such as smoking, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and high cholesterol levels heighten the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Preventing heart-related problems involves adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Following WHO’s 2002 recommendation of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five days per week, activities like brisk walking, dancing, swimming or cycling on level terrain are beneficial.
A balanced and nutritious diet is equally vital for heart health. Recommendations include reducing salt and sugar intake while increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Avoiding saturated fats found in pastries, pies, butter, margarine and processed meat is crucial. Additionally, minimizing alcohol consumption and quitting cigarette smoking significantly contribute to overall heart well-being.
Caring for our hearts goes beyond expressing love. It involves providing the proper care our hearts need. By following these simple steps, we can care for our heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Presidential Proclamation No. 1096 s.1973: Declaring February as Philippine Heart Month
In 1973, President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared February as “Philippine Heart Month” through Proclamation No. 1096 s.1973. This proclamation highlights the urgency of addressing the growing prevalence of heart cases in the country. It emphasizes the importance of a national program focusing on research, education and community involvement to build a healthier citizenry.
The Department of Health and the Philippine Heart Association, in collaboration with the Heart Foundation of the Philippines, lead efforts to promote heart health throughout the year. This initiative calls on both government agencies and the private sector to support programs and activities aimed at enhancing the health care of the Filipino population.
Why Regular Checkups Matter?
Regular heart checkups are essential for identifying signs and potential risk factors for heart diseases. Factors considered during these checkups include family history, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, sugar levels (for diabetes), C-reactive protein levels and abdominal aorta measurements.
Early detection allows individuals at higher risk to adopt healthier lifestyles, contributing to longer and healthier lives. Timely screenings for risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes play a crucial role in preventing heart diseases.
Heart Failure: Silent Threat to Health
Heart failure, also known as “palyadong puso,” is a silent killer affecting many Filipinos. Factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and smoking contribute to the increasing prevalence of heart failure. Recognizing the signs and symptoms, including shortness of breath, persistent cough and fluid retention, can lead to early intervention and improved outcomes.
Addressing heart failure requires understanding its causes, such as coronary artery disease and hypertension and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Initiatives like the “Keep It Pumping” column, supported by the Philippine Heart Association, aim to educate and empower individuals to enhance heart health.
A Checklist for a Healthy Lifestyle
Health reform advocate Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon emphasizes a 10-point “healthy lifestyle” checklist to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Top priorities include quitting smoking, maintaining an ideal body weight through proper diet and exercise, limiting alcohol consumption and incorporating relaxation and meditation into daily life. Regular visits to the doctor, stress reduction and sufficient sleep are crucial components of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle, participating in awareness initiatives and prioritizing regular checkups are key steps toward preventing cardiovascular diseases and promoting overall well-being. Let’s celebrate Philippine Heart Month by nurturing our hearts and the hearts of those we care about.