Helping the elderly lead a heart-healthy lifestyle | Inquirer Business

Helping the elderly lead a heart-healthy lifestyle

/ 12:30 AM January 23, 2016

The number of older individuals in the country is growing—and rapidly. The then National Statistics Office (NSO) noted that in 2000, there were 4.6 million senior citizens (60 years or older), representing about 6 percent of the total population.

In just a decade, this grew to 6.5 million or about 6.9 percent of the total population. By 2030, the NSO projects that they will make up 11.5 percent of the total population.

“As more Filipinos are able to live longer, soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished wellbeing are fast becoming a major health challenge. But while many seniors believe that cardiovascular disease risks are inevitable in old age, in truth, there are plenty of ways to keep their heart and blood vessels in great shape,” said Dr. Adolfo Bellosillo, president and founder of the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases (FLEHD).


Bellosillo, who also heads the Makati Medical Center’s Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit, said this issue will be covered extensively in the upcoming 16th national annual convention on preventive cardiology for physicians on Jan. 29 to 30 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Makati Medical Center auditorium (Tower 2).


With the convention theme “Cardiogeriatrics: Addressing the Cardiovascular Needs and Care of the Elderly Population,” the two-day event has lined up such topics as “Demographics of the aging population,” “Anatomic and physiological cardiovascular changes that occur with advancing age,” “Hypertension in the elderly,” “Coronary artery disease,” “Coronary angiography” (to be delivered by Dr. Alejandro Prieto), “Diastolic Heart Failure” and “Degenerative diseases of aortic and mitral valves.”

More topics

Other topics are: “Echocardiographic features of calcific aortic and calcific mitral valve diseases,” “Cardiomyopathies,” “Nuances and pitfalls in electrocardiographic interpretation re ‘myocardial ischemia’ and ‘LVH by voltage,’” “Cardiovascular pharmacotherapy for the geriatrics,” “Peripheral vascular disease,” “Resynchronization therapy,” “Cardiac rehabilitation for the cardiogeriatrics at Makati Medical Center,” “The Optimal Ageing Center of Makati Medical Center,” and “Atrial fibrillation in the elderly.”

Bellosillo said: “Like all the previous lecture events of FLEHD, we have prepared musical entertainment numbers that will be participated in by our own doctors, the UP Concert Chorus that will be directed by Jai Sabas Aracama.

On the second day, right after the Senior Citizens Heart forum, there will be a presentation titled “Music to Stress download the heart of the geriatrics,” which will feature mezzo soprano Aracama, and tenors Ramon Acoymo and Ervin Lumauag. Acoymo is the former dean of the UP College of Music while Lumauag is a former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

Bellosillo stressed that one can keep his heart healthy even at an advanced age.


“Get enough exercise, and there are many forms that would not be too strenuous; quit smoking; load up on fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting saturated fats, salt and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats; watch your weight; get regular checkups to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels (diabetes), and make sure they’re under control with medication; reduce alcohol intake or eliminate them completely; and most importantly, minimize stress in your life as it can compound many heart disease risks that seniors already face,” the doctor suggested.

At the end of the annual convention, Bellosillo hopes that more doctors would be able to convince their elderly patients to see them more regularly.

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“Just as these elderly individuals get on the weighing machine every once in a while to watch their weight, I would love to see more of them try getting into the habit of getting regular heart checks to keep  tabs on the performance of their heart. This way, in case of any irregularities, their doctors would be able to get a chance to take corrective action before it’s too late to make amends.”

TAGS: elderly, health and science, heart diseases

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