How to take care of the heart of mom and dad: let’s anticipate trouble

September 29th is World Heart Day, a reminder that seeks to raise awareness in people about making healthy decisions for our well-being and thus reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases. It is the ideal occasion to talk about how to take care of the heart of mom and dad.

Heart disease: the permanent pandemic

Did you know that cardiovascular diseases are the first cause of death in the world? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), myocardial infarctions and strokes claim more than 17 million lives a year and it is estimated that the figure will increase to 23.6 million by 2030. In Mexico, more than 150,000 people die from heart problems a year, “It is a true pandemic, but unlike COVID-19, which will eventually go away, like all infectious epidemics, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases remain”, said Dr. Enrique Gómez Álvarez, Postgraduate professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

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Men and women are equally affected

In past times, it was believed that men were affected to a greater extent, today according to WHO data, it is known that these conditions impact women almost equally. And there is more information: In our country, 19% of women and men between 30 and 69 years old die from cardiovascular diseases, indicates a paper published in the Mexican Journal of Cardiology.

It is estimated that 70.3% of the adult population lives with at least one cardiovascular risk factor such as hypertension (17 million), diabetes (6 million), obesity and overweight (35 million), smoking (15 million) and/or dyslipidemia or high concentration of lipids in the blood (14 million).

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Risk factors

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) indicates that the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD) increases due to any of the following causes:

  1. An unhealthy diet: low consumption of fruits and vegetables and a high consumption of salt, sugar and fat.
  2. Overweight and obesity
  3. Sedentary lifestyle
  4. Exposure to tobacco

“So far in 2021, 326,892 Mexicans have been diagnosed with overweight. In other words, every week 9,080 people have been detected with one of these conditions. If only obesity, and therefore high cholesterol and high blood pressure, were controlled, 8 out of 10 deaths caused by diseases could be avoided”, says Dr. Laura Jessy Chávez Hernández, Medical Manager of the Cardiovascular Area of the Silanes Laboratories.

In addition to personal care, there is low investment by the State in Health; it is only 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while in developed countries the figures are in two digits. The worst thing is that the biggest expense is in therapeutic care and not in prevention.

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How to take care of the heart of mom and dad

The best way to combat cardiovascular diseases is through prevention. These are some tips given by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) to reduce risk factors:

  1. Go to preventive medical care, particularly people with family antecedents, obesity, hypertension and a sedentary lifestyle. Actions such as the follow-up of weight, height, Body Mass Index, blood glucose and fat levels, kidney function, blood pressure and heart rate are essential.
  2. Control your blood pressure. Check it up at least once a year and more often if you have high blood pressure.
  3. Make healthy changes in your lifestyle. Avoid hyper caloric diets and do physical activity.
  4. Monitor and keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels low.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight.
  6. Limit alcohol consumption.
  7. Don’t smoke.
  8. Control your stress.
  9. Controls diabetes (it doubles the risk of diabetic heart disease).
  10. Make sure you get enough sleep.

Heart Day reminds us that we must take care of our health. It’s not too late, start now.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

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