YOUR HEART works every second of the day to keep you alive! Prevention and early detection of heart disease and associated risk factors (such as obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes) are therefore essential to help keep your heart healthy.
Heart disease consists of a range of health problems that affect the heart. It includes problems with the rhythm or pulse of the heart (arrhythmias), weakness or inefficient pumping of the heart muscle (heart failure, cardiomyopathy), narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels that supply the heart (ischemic heart disease, heart attack) and malformations of the heart walls and valves, among other conditions.
The hardening, narrowing and blockage of blood vessels over time (a process called “atherosclerosis”) is the most common cause of diseases of the heart and blood vessels – known as cardiovascular disease (CVD) – which includes ischemic heart disease (angina), myocardial infarction (heart attack) and heart failure.
Children can also have a heart defect from birth (a hole in the heart) or develop rheumatic heart disease as they age due to inflammatory damage to the heart valves.
According to Dr Julia Rowe-Porter, a medical epidemiologist with the Non-Communicable Diseases and Injury Prevention Unit at the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), the heart is such a vital organ that we need to ensure that ‘it is in good working order and, as far as possible, prevent the development of heart disease which can lead to serious dysfunction, disability and death.
“Many types of heart disease can cause irreversible damage and treatment is often costly and lifelong, with significant costs for individuals and their families and an additional burden on the health sector to provide services and care to patients. people living with heart disease,” Rowe-Porter said.
Lifestyle changes are key to preventing and reducing the risk of heart disease, especially cardiovascular disease. These include eating a healthy, balanced diet, becoming more physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, reducing your alcohol intake, controlling your blood pressure, blood lipids ( cholesterol and triglycerides) and your blood sugar, manage your stress and get enough rest.
In addition, the condition of your heart should be checked regularly as well as your blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index (BMI, a measurement to determine excess weight for your height) and examinations recommended by your health care provider.
Your heart condition should be checked along with your blood pressure, heart rate, BMI, and tests recommended by your health care provider. High blood sugar can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels, the heart, and other major organs in the body.
Early detection and control of diabetes are therefore important in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. High levels of blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) contribute to hardening and narrowing of blood vessels, leading to poor blood flow to major organs in the body, including the heart. This increases your chances of having heart attacks and strokes.
“This Thursday, as we commemorate World Heart Day 2022, remember to love yourself by practicing healthy lifestyle choices that improve your heart health. Spread the love by sharing your heart health journey with your family, your friends, classmates, colleagues and other members of your community. Together, we can make a difference,” Rowe-Porter insisted.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common manifestation of heart disease and the leading cause of death in Jamaica, accounting for one-third (33.7%) of all deaths in 2016 (RGD 2016). Many of these deaths occur in people under the age of 70 (“premature deaths”) who are still in their productive years of life and many of whom have jobs and families that depend on them.
A significant portion of the national health budget is spent on caring for people with non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, which require long-term treatment, care and support, as well as hospitalization for complications and serious illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes. and heart failure.
The MOHW reminds you to give your heart some love by living a healthy lifestyle and doing your health checkups, because a healthy heart gives you a chance to LIVE longer and LOVE harder. The theme for this year’s activities is “Using (Heart) for Every Heart”. So make it a family affair…eat healthy, be active, manage stress and mental well-being, together.
HEART DISEASE RISK FACTORS
Results of the Jamaican Health and Lifestyle Survey (JHLS) III (2016-2017) among Jamaicans aged 15 or older
• High blood pressure: About one in three Jamaicans has high blood pressure (34%). Hypertension rates are 25% higher than 10 years ago and 50% higher than almost 20 years ago
• Diabetes: About one in eight Jamaicans has diabetes (12%),
Diabetes rates are 25% higher than 10 years ago
• High cholesterol: more than 1 in 10 Jamaicans already had high cholesterol more than 10 years ago (JHLSII, 2007-2008)
• Obesity: more than half of Jamaicans are overweight or obese
• Two out of three women are overweight or obese
• Over 80% of Jamaicans do not exercise enough
• One in three Jamaicans consume sugary drinks every day
• Over 60% of Jamaicans do not eat enough vegetables
• Over 70% of Jamaicans do not consume enough fruit
• Smoking: 15 out of 100 Jamaicans smoke; more than one in four men smoke
SOURCE: Department of Health and Wellness