Let us all start taking care of our hearts before it’s too late. We are finding that in Malaysia, people are experiencing heart disease much earlier in life than previously expected. What is going on? We can only think that it has got to do with our busy lifestyle and love of our food that is leading us to adopt unhealthy habits.
We sure love our hawker food like char kueh tiaw, Kolomee and more that are laden with excessive oil. Eating these too much can lead to high cholesterol that in turn block our arteries and cause heart disease. Thankfully, I learned so much from joining the recent Walk A Mile event with Nestle Omega Plus that revealed some shocking facts about heart disease happening in Malaysia today.
KEY STATISTICS OF HEART DISEASE
•1 out of 2 Malaysian adults are suffering from high cholesterol.
•42% of Malaysians who have high cholesterol are below the ages of 40 years old2.
•Individuals as young as in their 20s are diagnosed with heart disease3.
•Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one-quarter of all hospital deaths4.
•Nearly half of heart attack patients (45%) have three or more risk factors5:
•77% being obese
•65% having high blood pressure
•46% having diabetes
•38% being smokers
•37% having abnormal cholesterol levels
Looking at the statistics above was a real eye opener. I didn’t know that such a large percentage of people below 40 are now affected by heart disease. It really made me realise how much more I need to take steps for a healthy heart starting from now and it’s more than my diet that needs a change, it’s a full lifestyle. Also heart health care need to happen early on before there is even any symptoms. We shouldn’t wait until we have any of the above conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes to start looking for a way to stay healthy.
KEY FACTORS TO MANAGE HEART HEALTH HOLISTICALLY
One way is to get more active in our daily lives especially for desk workers like me that struggle to reach 5000 steps a day. The American Heart Association suggests a combination of moderate and vigorous activity thirty minutes a day, five times a week. Malaysians love running and there are so many running events throughout the year, I find that joining one will motivate me to work harder to train for it and therefore making me more active too. There are so many other ways though, sometimes I just prefer to stay home and work out to one of those fitness videos on YouTube and there are sure plenty of them. Anything that makes your body move and burn calories is considered physical activity. Walking more is a great way to improve heart health that is why I also track my daily steps with a Mi Fit nowadays.
Getting a medical check-up is Super important when it comes to knowing about heart disease early as a heart Attack is one of those unpredictable disease that comes without any symptoms. Even if you don’t have any heart issues, it’s important to not miss your heart health check-ups with your doctor. Ask questions about your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, blood glucose and weight are some areas we need to know clearly. After 40, it will become necessary to check our hearts annually.
We must be intentional to eat a balanced diet at the dining table. For example we can aim to fill half our plate with vegetables and fruits and at the same time consume milk with added plant sterols to block the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. What are plant sterols? Did you know that Plant sterols are considered to be the most effective single food that can lower cholesterol as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle?
Plant sterols can be found in small amounts in many grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Those are what most of us eat daily, but sometimes it is hard to get large amounts of that into our diet. However we may have to eat very large amounts of these items to have an effect on your cholesterol, with Nestlé Omega Plus, we only need to drink two glasses a day to manage cholesterol levels. Nestlé Omega Plus® milk has plant sterols that can help lower cholesterol and it’s a really healthy and convenient way to save our hearts!
1National Health and Morbidity Survey, 2015 MOH
2National Health and Morbidity Survey, 2015 MOH
3Muzammil, B. (2014, October 8). Heart Disease: Shocking Facts The Younger Generation Should Know. Malaysian Digest. Retrieved from http://www.malaysiandigest.com/features/522012-heart-disease-shocking-facts-the-younger-generation-should-know.html
4 Tan. S.C. (2016, August 7). Younger and riskier. The Star, Health, pp. 11
5 Tan. S.C. (2016, August 7). Younger and riskier. The Star, Health, pp. 11