Getting to the heart of good health

Participants learning about the benefits of chair yoga from Revathi.

Medicare Charitable Foundation hosted a charity heart health awareness event in conjunction with International Women’s Day, to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease.

A cardiologist, a dietician and a fitness instructor were invited to share valuable information with about 100 women at the Alya International Gallery in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

The afternoon started with the introduction of calming chair yoga techniques by fitness instructor and The Star assistant editor Revathi Murugappan, who provided tips on aligning the spinal cord.

The event was to expose working women who have limited time to exercise to the dangers of heart disease.

“Now, there is no excuse for women to not exercise at the office,” Revathi said, after showing how chair yoga can be done during working hours or while watching television at home.

She encouraged the women to take five minutes off from working at their desks and do breathing exercises.

“This technique will help you to calm down and reduce stress,” she added.

After the 30-minute session, the event continued with a talk by Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur and MAA Medicare Heart Charity Fund Consultant Cardiologist Dr Dewi Ramasamy.

Dr Dewi says the first hour of having chest pains is crucial when save someone’s life.

In 2017, 37 deaths occurred due to ischaemic heart disease a day in Malaysia, she said. This has not changed and is steadily increasing.

“In the United States as well as Malaysia, heart disease is a leading cause of death and about half a million people die from this,” she said.

Dr Dewi said it was alarming that there was a 30% increase in heart disease cases between 1997 and 2012.

Many factors contribute to heart disease such as diabetes, hypertension, physical inactivity, obesity and smoking, she added.

Dr Dewi educated the audience on the “Golden Hour”, which is the first one hour of having chest pains, that could make a difference in helping save someone’s life.

“It is important that the patient be brought to the hospital within the first hour of having chest pains. After that, the heart muscle will be damaged and become worse,” she said.

She advised women to change their sedentary lifestyle to prevent heart disease.

Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur senior dietician Tey Swee Ee explained about maintaining a healthy diet.

Based on the National Health and Morbidity survey in 2015, 30% of Malaysian adults are overweight while 18% are obese, proving Malaysia’s first place on the obesity list in South-East Asia.

“Eighty percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease are preventable,” Tey said, adding that people should limit the intake of unhealthy fat, salt and sugar, and instead, choose whole grain products, more vegetables, and less fried food.

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