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Heart disease still leading cause of death in PH

Ischemic heart disease is still the top killer disease in the country, a heart expert said Tuesday.

“If we are going to base it on the recent WHO (World Health Organization) list Top 10 Causes of Death, ischemic heart disease and stroke still rank as top two. That has been the trend globally for the last 15 years," Dr. Gino Quizon, a cardiologist of Medical Center Manila, said during a health forum.

Ischemic heart disease occurs when the heart does not get enough supply of blood and oxygen due to narrowed arteries.

Quizon said that while progress has been made in the treatment of ischemic heart disease, its mortality rate remains high.

He pointed to the choice to lead an unhealthy lifestyle as the main culprit for this disease.

"It is easier to be unhealthy, and it is such an effort to live a healthy lifestyle,” Quizon said, citing as examples poor dietary choices, smoking, and drinking alcohol.

Genes also contribute to the risk of acquiring hypertension, heart attack, or stroke, he added.

"The 2016 European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention recommends a low saturated fat diet with focus on wholegrain products, fish, fruits, and vegetables. A study published just last Feb. 20 concludes that a low-fat diet is comparable to a low carbohydrate diet in a 12-month study period," the cardiologist noted.

He also advised against cigarette smoking and alcohol intake, and recommended sugar and cholesterol control, as well as stress management.

"Addressing all other risk factors would offset and prevent a cardiovascular event," Quizon said.

Meanwhile, in terms of the treatment available, he said majority of structural and coronary artery disease interventions could now be done percutaneously or through needle-puncture of the skin instead of the “open” approach.

"We can now repair coronary artery and peripheral artery blockages, fix congenital holes/defects, coil aneurysms, and repair valvular diseases without the need for major surgeries. Even the materials we use have evolved and have been updated to provide better care and outcomes," Quizon said.

Leilani Junio / PNA