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Feb 22, 2018

Healthy Living: Caring for Your Heart

Not because Valentine’s Day is over means that all the talk about your heart should stop. In fact, it is always a good time to talk about the health of the heart. In Belize, heart disease continues to be one of our leading causes of death. There are a number of factors that may put you at risk and many small changes that can make a big difference. That’s what we discuss in tonight’s Healthy Living.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
It’s one of the hardest working organs in your body, consistently pumping oxygenated blood throughout your entire system. Its heavy workload is vital to survival, as we know when the heart fails so does other essential body functions – instantaneously. But, heart problems rarely come about instantaneously as Internist Dr Fernando Cuellar explains.

 

Fernando Cuellar

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Internist

“People would always say…oh ih mi di feel bad but ih never really pay attention to it. That is the biggest thing. I think people feel issues, feel pain, feel short of breath, feel chest pain and just brush it off like any other thing and it’s not the – it’s very rare that someone will just spontaneously have one problem and just have one big lick and die. One, I will leave it as chest discomfort. That’s an all encompassing kind of word. First, we use to say chest pain, but then people use to split hairs and say it’s not pain, it’s a pressure, and it’s a burning. So any discomfort in the chest lasting more than a day or two you get it checked out. Shortness of breath, palpitations, problem breathing, feeling a choked sensation, feeling that sensation run down the left arm or even the right arm. Those are the classic red markers we would use.   It is still one of the major causes of morbidity meaning that sicknesses – why people go to the doctor why people fall ill and even more sadly mortality why people die. All of the conditions that are connected one way or another with cardiovascular for example high blood pressure diabetes high cholesterol and more particularly heart problems heart disease and strokes are one of the main reasons people get sick and die.  People from the age of fifteen to forty-five/fifty that’s when we have the development of these diseases and you hearing more and more people dying at a very young age.  Gender is another. It changes in the terms that during these years it’s men who have more problems but as they reach in later forties and fifties women tend to catch up to the same numbers like.”

 

One theory as to why women become more at risk as they get older is that it may be linked to changes in hormone during menopause. While some risk factors cannot be changed – like your genetics, age or gender, many other risk factors are modifiable.

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Our lack of exercise, I think that is beating us a whole lot. We have very sedentary lifestyles nowadays and we go from our homes, our couches to the vehicle to the desk. And we hardly take time out to do that exercise. People feel like they need to be running marathon all you need is a twenty-thirty minutes a day or every other day to do some type of cardiovascular. Or you can do it at home. You don’t need a fancy gym, you don’t need fancy clothes.”

 

Changing your eating habits, quitting smoking, and checking your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels regularly are all changes that can improve your heart health. Also, pay attention to your stress.

 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Our lifestyle now…the whole thing about stress and stress management.  I think it’s not fair to tell anyone not to feel stress because that is almost impossible. But it is how you manage your stress that is what is important.”

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