Preventative heart care is not a top-of-mind consideration for most Malaysian adults, as heart disease is usually perceived as an illness that affects the elderly. Research has proven this is not the case. In fact, Malaysians in their 30s are now more likely to have arteries which are similar to a person aged seventy years old due to their lifestyles. The sad conclusion is that Malaysians are simply succumbing to heart disease at a younger age.
According to the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey, nearly 20 million Malaysians above the age of 18 years are at risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which may in turn lead to the development of heart disease.
One out of two Malaysians are suffering from high cholesterol. Heart disease manifests itself in many different forms – a heart attack, narrowing of arteries, abnormal heart rhythms, breaking down of the heart valve or heart muscle and degeneration of blood vessels, amongst others. Collectively they are known as cardiovascular heart disease, or CHD.
Brands such as Nestle Omega Plus have made it their mission to be Malaysia’s heart health advocate, to encourage Malaysians to take action for their heart health now instead of much later when the symptoms of heart disease have already manifested.
There are three key factors to manage your heart health holistically.
1. Aim to get some form of physical activity every day
The American Heart Association suggests a combination of moderate and vigorous activity half an hour a day, five times a week. Anything that makes your body move and burn calories is considered physical activity. Walking more is a great way to improve heart health.
2. Even if you don’t have any heart issues, it is 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. These numbers will help to provide a benchmark for upcoming check-ups.
3. Eat a balanced diet
At the dining table, aim to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, consume milk with added plant sterols to block the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Plant sterols are especially effective in lowering cholesterol levels – according to Heart UK, the Cholesterol Charity, plant sterols can reduce cholesterol levels by up to 10% when taken at optimal doses and as part of a diet low in saturated fat in just over 3 weeks. They 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.
Nestle Omega Plus have made it their mission to be Malaysia’s heart health advocate. Saturday Sept 3rd will see Malaysians young and old converge on Lake Gardens (Perdana Botanical Gardens) for Walk-A-Mile, Malaysia’s longest running walk for heart health advocacy, jointly organised by Nestlé Omega Plus and Yayasan Jantung Malaysia (YJM).
– Cover Image: huffpost.com