The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DoH-7) has warned of a rapid increase in cardiovascular cases in the country such as hypertension that can lead to heart attacks if not treated properly or if no preventive measures are taken.
Shelbay Blanco, medical coordinator of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of DOH-7, over the weekend said extra precaution must be taken this Christmas season when there are parties almost every day and rich calorific foods are on tables, especially lechon, which by Filipino tradition is almost indispensable in every celebration.
Blanco added that too much sweets, fatty foods and alcoholic beverages can also trigger hypertension or high-blood pressure.
“When eating lechon, which has an overload of fat, especially under the crispy skin, you should limit your intake to one matchbox-sized piece or at the most the size of a regular bread and only on occasion,” the medical coordinator said.
It is not advisable to eat fatty foods and then drink beverages like beer or soda because these have lots of cholesterol that will trigger abnormal heart palpitations, she added.
Aside from party foods, Blanco also reminded the public to slow down in eating street foods because they are not safe, especially those exposed to dust and other pollutants in unhygeinic areas.
Blanco told members of the media that the RESU is coordinating with all health centers in Cebu and the local government unit to regulate street foods, which are unhealthy and dangerous to the public not only during the Christmas season but every day.
She said medications for treatment of hypertension are available for free in any health center in the country.
Patients must go to the nearest health center for a blood pressure check-up and a physician will issue a prescription for the medication to take.
But taking such medication is not a guarantee that hypertension will be treated unless patients take their maintenance doses seriously and stay away from foods that are not good for their health, Blanco said.
“Hypertension is silent killer and no one knows when it will strike and it has no symptoms. It is just having an abnormal blood pressure that will lead to a heart attack,” he added.