Living with heart disease

By Herbert Vego

HAS somebody ever commended you for having a big heart?

Congratulations.  It means you are generous and eager to help people.

But if, like me, you have a literally big heart, it’s a disease known in medical parlance as cardiomegaly – when the heart grows bigger than its normal size. The heart muscles thicken, making it harder to pump blood efficiently throughout your body.

Cardiomegaly and other heart diseases hit the rich the hardest.  One of the reasons could be because they can splurge on the most expensive steaks and other fatty delicacies. Animal fat may raise blood cholesterol, enhancing blood stickiness and suppressing clot-dissolving mechanisms.

You may say I am not in their league because I rarely eat steak.  But it’s more so because of obedience to my sister-doctor who advised me to shun high-cholesterol foods that could clog and worsen my atherosclerosis, which is when fatty streaks choke off blood flow along the artery walls.

Obedience to her advice has made me a “survivor,” having lost count of the times I came in and went out of the hospital. It has been 11 years since 2012 when I underwent a scanning procedure known as “2-d echo” (two-dimensional echocardiography), which revealed my heart’s “left ventricular dysfunction”

I need to be on lifetime “maintenance” medicine to manage hypertension, which could lead to either heart attack or stroke.

I need to avoid anger and stress.

From research I have learned that, to keep my arteries open for proper blood circulation, I must gorge on fruits, vegetables and  low-cholesterol meals cooked without cooking oil.

The Japanese eat fat, but it is of the omega-3 type or one with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that prevents cholesterol build-up in the arteries. It comes from big fishes like salmon, tuna and blue marlin.

Like the Japanese, people who live around the Mediterranean Sea – specifically in Greece, Italy and France – are half as likely to die of heart disease as the Americans, although they are not as fish-crazy as the Japanese. The Mediterranean diet is rich in monounsaturated fats from olive oil. Other plant-based fats of the olive-oil type come from hazelnuts, avocados, almond and rapeseed oil. Monounsaturated fats fend off artery damage from low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.

Animal fat, on the other hand, is low-density lipoprotein, which destroys arteries by raising blood cholesterol, enhancing blood stickiness and suppressing clot-dissolving mechanisms.

But the good news is that, by immediately shunning animal fat, you can slowly but surely unclog your arteries. To quote American cardiologist Dr. Ernst Schaefer, “If I had to tell people just one thing to lower their risk of heart disease, it would be to reduce their intake of food of animal origin, specifically animal fats, and to replace those fats with complex carbohydrates – grains, fruits and vegetables.

“If right now you have chest pain or angina, it is a warning sign that oxygen and blood do not flow freely through your blocked arteries. To alleviate it, you may try vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene on top of your doctor-prescribed medications.”

Ironically, the poor seem to know better than the rich not only in the choice of food but in the choice of heart-care activities. Most people with healthy hearts are the manual laborers who flex their muscles daily, enabling their body to produce high-density lipoprotein which combats bad cholesterol build-up.

This brings back the famous quotation from the world-acknowledged Greek father of medicine, Hippocrates (460-337 BC): “Let your food be your medicine and medicine, your food.”



WHAT’S keeping MORE Electric and Power Company’s (MORE Power) from expanding its coverage area as mandated by a franchise law?

That law, Republic Act No. 11918, expands MORE Power’s service areas outside Iloilo City – specifically Passi City and the towns of Alimodian, Anilao, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Dueñas, Dumangas, Leganes, Leon, New Lucena, Pavia, San Enrique, San Miguel, Santa Barbara and Zarraga. These areas are currently being served exclusively by any of the three branches of the Iloilo Electric Cooperative (ILECO).an

The expansion law would afford customers in these localities the freedom to choose between ILECO  and MORE Power.

Primary lines are now rising from Pavia and a few other towns near Iloilo City. According to MORE Power President/CEO Roel Z. Castro, they have already extended their primary lines to Pavia town, which is the likely jump off point for the expansion.

The Megaworld substation in Mandurriao will serve as the main supply point for Pavia because of its proximity to the town. It would take four to five years to complete the expansion program.

What remains to be issued to MORE Power is an amended certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).


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