Heartbeats are one of the most important health signals for living things. Appreciating and protecting this muscle should be the goal of every human being. Even then, Cardiovascular conditions remain one of the leading causes of death in Puerto Rico.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by the year 2030, 23.6 million people will die from heart disease, making these conditions the leading cause of death in the world. From 2017 to 2018, cardiovascular events caused 3,200 deaths in Puerto Rico, according to data from the School of Public Health of the University of Puerto Rico.
This information is important so that patients have a comprehensive picture of how these conditions affect their health and take steps to prevent them. “Heart disease affects the heart, blood vessels, causing problems in the coronary arteries, irregularities of the heartbeat such as arrhythmias, genetic disorders or heart valve disease, as well as infections that can cause abnormalities,” Dr. Eric Aviles Rivera, MD said. Cardiologist at Centro Médico Menonita Caeyy.
The doctor said it is important that people get their cholesterol levels assessed, adding other parameters that can establish a scenario in which a patient may develop a cardiovascular event. “You have to be strict with your diet or with drugs like statins, especially high-intensity ones, because they’re the ones that will give the most benefit for preventing a cardiovascular event. Similarly, the use of aspirin, which previously Used to be preventive in all patients, is now used for high-risk patients. These can be diabetics or smokers. The recommended aspirin is 81 mg,” he said.
One of the aspects recommended by the cardiologist is controlling cholesterol by reducing the intake of animal and trans fats. Along with increasing the good fats found in grains and certain fish (wild salmon, fresh tuna, and mackerel), eating a Mediterranean diet, according to Dr. flax seed They help in lowering the cholesterol level. Sometimes this type of dietary modification is so effective that the patient does not need medicines.
The types of cholesterol are:
- Low-density lipoprotein or LDL in English for its abbreviation or bad cholesterol.
- High Density Lipoprotein or HDL for its abbreviation in English or good cholesterol.
“LDL has been viewed as a risk factor if it is not medicated with proper frequency, as it causes atherosclerosis – a condition that leads to clogging of the arteries. Low-density cholesterol is what should be maintained with favorable indices. Omega 3 consumption, moderate consumption of red wine (no more than one glass per day), along with a regular exercise routine, are some of the behaviors that patients can adopt”, Aviles explained. .
On the other hand, blood pressure is another trigger for cardiac conditions. Rivera stressed that this type of condition is more prevalent after the age of 50 in men and 55 in women. This is usually due to family history, in patients who consume a high sodium diet, are overweight, or have sleep apnea. Although it occurs in both men and women in the 50-year age range, younger adults may experience problems with their blood pressure.
“It is believed in young age that the high sodium diet and obesity epidemic is affecting patients most in the age group of 30 to 40 years. When a person is under stress, warning hormones rush into the bloodstream. Cortisol is produced, which increases blood pressure and makes people gain weight,” the expert said.
Some strategies to lower cholesterol are: Lifestyle changes; the DASH diet, a diet low in salt and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein; And eat foods rich in potassium.
“The Puerto Rican diet is high in sodium and fat. Our consumption of fruits and vegetables is very low. The first thing on your plate should be a salad. It should be half the plate with a low-fat protein, a smaller portion could be rice, This, he said, shows that this is not the norm in the daily lives of people living in Puerto Rico.
In the same way, people should look for or incorporate healthy habits such as physical activity into their daily routine. Some examples are: aerobic exercise, isometrics, weight lifting, yoga, walking, running, tennis, cycling, swimming, dancing, Zumba, etc.
It is recommended that people do at least 5 days of cardiovascular exercise, preferably for 30 minutes or if the body allows it, for 50 minutes daily.
“As a doctor and cardiologist I recommend patients or people who are 40 or older visit their primary care physician to get tested which will launch their cardiac score and Will also visit their cardiologist for this purpose. It makes the difference between having or not having a cardiac event. Moderation in alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and exercise are great tools to control a patient’s cardiac health , ” Aviles concluded.