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PIA Press Release
2009/02/09

Men are more prone to heart problems

Cebu City (February 9) -- Men are more prone to heart diseases compared to women but this news is not something women should rejoice about, a cardiologist recently bared.

Dr. Aristotle Betita, a cardiologist from the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) said a female hormone called estrogen produced by the ovaries also serves as a protection to women from being a high-risk candidate to hypertension.

Estrogen hormones are responsible for the development of female secondary sex characteristics.

But such comfort is short-lived however as Betita said that during menopausal stage when estrogen decreases, the risk to developing coronary problems is already equal to that of men.

Age plays a crucial factor in developing heart disorders, according to Betitta.

The cardiologist also clarified that this does not mean that younger women are not prone to heart disorders because there are other factors to consider such as congenital heart defect, heredity and lifestyle behaviors like consuming high-fat, salty foods and smoking and drinking alcohol which places an individual to high risk of acquiring coronary disorders.

In observance of February as Heart Month, Betita urged everyone to take care of one's heart as the Department of Health (DOH-7) released its data that coronary heart diseases is the third cause of mortality rate in Central Visayas last year.

DOH-7 Regional Director Susanna Madarieta gave no statistics but that the figure is now at an "alarming" level.

The DOH-7 is strengthening its campaign on 'Healthy Lifestyle' Practices espousing the seven messages which are: 1) No Smoking 2) Don't Drink Alcohol 3) Don't Do Drugs 4) Eat Low-Fat, High-Fiber Diet 5) Prevent Hypertension 6) Do Physical Activity and 7) Manage Stress.

Madarieta said those afflicted with heart problems are getting younger and in fact, as young as 14 years old have been known to develop myocardial infarction due to smoking.

"One out of five students smokes with age range between 13 to 15 years old," Madarieta said.

The DOH-7 official also claimed that 24 percent of youths ages 15 to 19 years old are also drinking alcohol. Heart problems basically result due to poor lifestyle habits, Madarieta added.

Betita corrected a common notion that doing household chores is tantamount to doing exercise. When one exercises, one needs to prepare for the activity mentally as well as physically while doing house chores like cleaning and washing clothes are merely physical, Betita stressed.

Exercising 30 minutes a day three times a week will suffice as an exercise, Betita further said.

Betita however suggested that when one reaches the age of 40, one must go for an annual medical check-up to ensure physical good health.

The DOH's revival of the Healthy Lifestyle campaign is aimed at combating the four non-communicable chronic diseases that are on a rising trend in the country namely cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders and diabetes.

Chronic diseases claim 35M lives every year and together are the leading cause of death worldwide, the DOH-7 said.

In Central Visayas, the top 10 causes of mortality rate are pneumonia, cancer, coronary heart diseases, hypertension, other diseases of the heart, accidents and injuries, sepsis, pulmonary tuberculosis, kidney diseases to include diabetes and peptic ulcer disease, Madarieta cited. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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