When Should You Get Screened for Cardiovascular Diseases?

Hello Running Adiks! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Matt Alea, a writer and contributor to online news publications. You’re hearing (or should I say reading?) from me today because I’m here to take on the serious topic of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD).

MY FIRST BRUSH WITH CVD

When I was the ripe age of 22, I had to get my first angiogram. I had been experiencing difficulty breathing, near constant fatigue, and numbness in my extremities. After telling my dad what I was feeling, he suggested I see our family doctor. He said to me “Anak, my family has a history of high cholesterol and remember your mom had a stroke when she was only 42.”

Needless to say, I was not looking forward to this trip to the doctor. I was subjected to various tests and finally, my doctor recommended that I undergo an angiogram. She reassured that it was just to be safe and that it didn’t necessarily mean that I had any problems.

My test results arrived and said otherwise. It was revealed that I had an “almost clot” which if gone unnoticed, would have gotten bigger and possibly caused a stroke. I was prescribed medication for the clot to be cleared. Thanks to my dad reminding me of my family’s medical history, I was saved from a life threatening situation.

ONE FAMILY, ONE HEART, ONE GOAL

Dyslipidemia is when one has abnormal levels of lipids, or fats in the blood. Lipids are essential in providing energy to the cells while cholesterol is vital in the production of hormones and bile acids for healthy digestion.

My story is but one of hundreds of thousands that happen in the Philippines. This is why Amgen Philippines Inc. and Zuellig Pharma Corporation are striving to help patients struggling with CVD by providing them and their families with the means to take the necessary actions to manage their health risks.

They say that the best cure isn’t a cure at all—it’s prevention. Dr. Lourdes Ella Santos, an adult cardiologist and clinical lipidologist spoke about one of the risk factors of CVD: dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is when one has abnormal levels of lipids, or fats in the blood. Lipids are essential in providing energy to the cells while cholesterol is vital in the production of hormones and bile acids for healthy digestion.

However, there are two kinds of cholesterol: “bad” cholesterol and “good” cholesterol. Elevated bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) in the blood increases the risk of developing plaque in the arteries which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. This is the same problem that I had before I went to the doctor.

According to Dr. Santos, the scariest thing about CVDs is that they have no symptoms. The only time that there would be any “symptoms” is when you’re already at risk of complications. That’s why the key to battling CVD is family support. If it weren’t for my family’s awareness of our genetic history, I probably wouldn’t be here, writing this right now.

The scariest thing about CVDs is that they have no symptoms.

BE INFORMED AND GET SCREENED TODAY

Now to finally answer the question, the best time to get screened is now. Dr. Santos emphasized the importance of getting regular check-ups and screenings, the best frequency being twice a year. Even if you live a healthy lifestyle, you can still be at risk of CVD.

In the Philippines, there were 130,000 deaths related to CVD in 2016 alone. At the event, one of the attendees opened up about how she exercises regularly, only eats healthy food, but still gets regular check-ups because she understands that CVD doesn’t choose its victims. If you would like to make sure that you are safe, you can get what’s known as a Lipid Profile test. These are readily available at private hospitals according to Dr. Santos for the cost of 1000-4000 pesos. Recommend it to your family, relatives, and loved ones and keep in mind that we all have one family, one heart, and one goal. Fight CVD today!


Matt Alea is a writer located in Metro Manila. He enjoys writing about nearly anything and everything under the sun but his expertise focus on the likes of youth-related social issues and humanities. You can find him on twitter and read his works here.

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