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Take care of your heart


February is the month of hearts and we take a break from talk on the pandemic, politics, and pollution with this reminder: Take care of your heart!

In the past two years, attention to one’s health had focused on strengthening the immune system as the best defense against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

At least two simple ways to prevent heart disease have been put aside with the anxiety and restrictions created by the pandemic. One is taking a walk or exercise. The other is, laughing. Unfortunately, many people have not indulged in more walking or laughing in a while.

According to the flood of information on how to have a healthy heart found in the internet, exercise and laughter have been recommended by online health publications. The online site, Care New England, early this month recommended “laugh more” as no. 5 tip in its “do your heart a favor and keep it healthy” list:

“Whether you are watching a movie or cracking jokes with friends, laugh out as loud as you can — it is good for your heart. Laughing decreases artery inflammation, reduces stress hormones, and increases good cholesterol.”

Dr. Raymund W. Lo, Manila Bulletin columnist, like many doctors and online health sites, recommends that we “execise more.”

“A more active lifestyle will lead to more oxygen being delivered to your heart circulation. Walk more, sit less. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Begin a regular exercise program,” he said.

Dr. Lo, an advocate of exercise, is a practicing pathologist at the SLMC-QC, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Diliman Doctors Hospital, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center.

There is no lack of information on keeping the heart healthy. In the internet, there are as many tips as one has the time to read. Most of the tips are really quite simple and should come naturally — like eat a proper diet and get a good sleep.

Stress, another common element in most everyone’s work life is “heavy on the heart.” Dr. Lo says “excess stress hormone cortisol promotes hypertension, which causes heart disease. It also increases blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and sugar.”

Other tips for a healthy heart from our doctor-columnist include: Reduce excess weight, since excess fat is a strain on the heart as it has to supply blood and oxygen to more tissues. Eat at or below your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Example: If your BMR is 1,500 calories, that’s what you should eat for the day, not more. Cut down on carbs and sugars.

You can also try to control hypertension. Uncontrolled hypertension is a silent killer and can cause heart attacks and strokes.

Now, if you smoke, quit immediately! If you don’t smoke or vape, don’t start now.

On the other hand, if you have a family history of heart disease, consult a cardiologist for management of hereditary heart disease.

“Overall, a healthy lifestyle of healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction will promote heart health,” Dr. Lo said.

Begin taking care of your heart with the simplest thing you can do now. Take a walk.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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