At cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming an estimated 18 million lives each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
O world heart day celebrated this Thursday (29), promotes awareness of preventive measures that contribute to reducing the risk of problems such as heart attack and stroke.
Inadequate diet, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse and smoking are some of the most relevant behavioral risk factors for the development of heart disease.
In an interview with CNN the cardiologist Roberto Kalil president of InCor and head of cardiology at Hospital Sírio-Libanês, stated that, although the risk factors have been known for decades, changing the population’s habits is still a challenge.
“Walking for half an hour a day, five or four times a week is what the American and Brazilian cardiology societies advocate for prevention. A healthy diet and taking care of risk factors such as not smoking. This has been known for decades, the difficult thing is to execute”, says Kalil, presenter of CNN Vital Signs .
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warns that the effects of behavioral risk factors can manifest in individuals through high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high levels of fat in the bloodstream, overweight and obesity. According to PAHO, these intermediate risk factors can be measured in basic health units and indicate an increased risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and other complications.
“In general, a blood test, which is done routinely for any clinical evaluation, or even to obtain a driver’s license, many people discover hypertension there, in the measurement of pressure at that moment”, says Kalil.
Quitting smoking, reducing salt consumption, adding fruits and vegetables to the diet, performing regular physical activities and avoiding excessive alcohol use are some of the behavioral habits that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Proper treatment and regular monitoring of problems such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol can help prevent complications such as heart attacks or stroke.
Heart disease can develop silently, without the patient having symptoms for many years. Also, the signs of heart attacks and strokes can present themselves differently from one person to another.
Symptoms of a heart attack include: chest pain or discomfort, which may extend to the arms, left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back. In addition, the person may have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Feelings of nausea, fainting or dizziness are common, in addition to cold sweat and paleness.
“It’s an insidious disease because the symptoms can be milder, for example, pain in the stomach region, back pain, anguish that doesn’t have to be pain. Our tendency is to minimize, if there is anguish or tightness in the chest it is seen as stress. It’s an insidious symptom that comes and goes,” says Kalil.
The most common symptom of a stroke is weakness of the face and upper and lower limbs, more common on one side of the body. Symptoms include numbness in the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body. Patients may have mental confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding and seeing. Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination are also common, in addition to a severe headache with no apparent cause, with the possibility of fainting.
“Any strange symptoms, seek medical attention, an outpatient clinic or health center. We know our body. Of course a severe pain, cold sweat or fainting goes to the ER anyway. But it is important to always be aware of mild symptoms”, he concludes.
Source: CNN Brasil
I am a journalist with two years of experience in the financial industry. I was most recently an associate editor where I wrote about market trends and analysis. In my spare time, I am also an author, specializing in stock market analysis and trading advice.