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When you’re young, it can be easy to overlook your health as it feels like your metabolism and energy sources are infinite. But while it’s true that “you only live once,” it’s also important to remember that you only have one life and you have to take good care of it.
Your lifestyle choices, even in your 20s, can contribute to poor health and affect your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Heart disease is among the most common problems affecting Filipinos today. It remains the leading cause of death in the Philippines, according to a 2021 report from the Philippine Statistics Authority
What are its biggest risk factors? Hypertension, for one, increases the chance of developing cardiovascular conditions such as stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it simply: “High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease.”
The Department of Health found that a quarter of adult Filipinos (25.8%) were diagnosed with hypertension in 2021, while 54.5% were on medications to keep it in control. The Investigation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Young People—a journal published in 2019—also stated that high blood pressure is common even among the young, “affecting 1 in 8 adults aged between 20 and 40 years.”
Now, the question is: can it be prevented? Absolutely, the CDC mentioned—it takes a set of good lifestyle habits, however, which include monitoring your blood pressure regularly. Don’t fret: we’re not talking about going to the clinic or hospital each day as thanks to technology, there are certain products that make it a breeze now, like Omron’s digital blood pressure monitors.
According to Yusuke Kato—the general manager of Omron Healthcare in the Philippines—doing so could be “very useful in providing timely and accurate data to your physician to make him take more informed decisions.”
A helpful rule of thumb when it comes to monitoring blood pressure is to check it at the same time of day on each occasion. Note that it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice on the frequency of your BP readings.
A heart-healthy lifestyle
Apart from keeping track of your blood pressure, there are other healthy behaviors that can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
The Philippine STAR held a quick survey on how its readers keep their heart healthy. Out of nearly 16,200 respondents as of March 30, almost 6,000 have replied with none.
If it’s the same for you, it’s not too late to make a change. Here are things you can do:
Eat a balanced diet
Stay away from junk and processed foods and reduce your consumption of sweetened beverages. In a recent webinar by the Philippine Heart Association, heart doctors suggested following the 5-2-1-0-0 regimen. “What this means is that the daily diet should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, only 2g (or one teaspoon) of salt and 0 sugary drinks. Aside from this, it also advises at least 1 hour of daily physical activity and zero smoking,” explained Kato.
Squeeze in physical exercise each day
Heart experts recommend engaging in physical activity for one hour each day. Since it may sound too challenging, Kato offered a workaround that might help: “This 1 hour can be spread throughout the day. Small amounts of moderate physical activity that increase the heart rate such as brisk walking, climbing stairs, gardening, or doing household chores are already a good start. Gradually increase the duration, frequency and intensity of these activities to maybe engaging in actual exercises or workouts even at home.”
The DOH reported that 15.5% of Pinoy adults are tobacco smokers and approximately 1 in 10 Filipino adult men smoke tobacco on a daily basis. Kato raised the alarm for this since “tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are common heart killers.” He declared, “Quitting or not smoking at all is a big gift of health that you can give your heart.”
Know your family history
According to Kato, your genetic makeup can also affect your risk of heart disease. “It implies that some conditions are inherited like high blood pressure or coronary artery disease and some can surface because of gene mutations like the conditions that affect the structure of the heart muscles leading to abnormal heart rhythms.”
Omron products are available at LazMall, Mercury Drug, MCTC, Watsons, Southstar, Rose Pharmacy, and other pharmacies. They’re also being sold at Automatic Centre, Abenson, SM Appliance, S&R, Rustan's, appliances, and specialty stores nationwide.
Editor’s Note: BrandedUp is designed to provide you with insightful, inspiring, and educational content created by PhilSTAR L!fe in collaboration with brands like Omron.