Hye there! Today I will be sharing with you on my thoughts regarding health. First of, let me share with you a story of a girl named Farah Nadia.
“Seeing my father pass away from a heart attack has changed my attitudes towards heart health,” said Farah Nadia. “I know that there is a very real chance that my siblings or myself could develop the same heart disease risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or even diabetes if we are not careful.”
Farah is right to be concerned – 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 thirties are now more likely to have arteries which are similar to a person aged seventy years old due to their lifestyles. One out of two Malaysians are suffering from high cholesterol. The sad conclusion is that Malaysians are simply succumbing to heart disease at a younger age.
In Farah’s case, the risk is even more pressing given that her father has passed away after thirteen years of battling with never-ending coughs, feverish bouts and breathlessness brought about by heart disease. According to the World Heart Federation, “If a first-degree male relative (e.g. father, brother) has suffered a heart attack before the age of 55 , you are at greater risk of developing heart disease.” Risk factors can be inherited - familial hypercholesterolemia refers to a build-up of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood that can be passed down from one generation to another, leading to the development of coronary heart disease.
To encourage Malaysians to take action for their heart health now instead of much later when the symptoms of heart disease have already manifested, brands such as 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).
“For the past 14 years, Nestlé Omega Plus has reached out to Malaysians to take charge and care for their heart through Walk-A-Mile in collaboration with YJM and we look forward with great excitement to sharing heart healthy activities with everyone at Walk-A-Mile. Caring for your heart does need to be a big monumental step, simply taking the stairs or swapping sugary treats with fresh fruits and drinking two glasses of Nestlé Omega Plus with added plant sterols daily to manage cholesterol can improve your heart health,” said Ng Su Yen, Business Executive Manager, Milks of Nestlé Malaysia.
Nevertheless, for those of us that inherit these risk factors, heart health can still be managed. For most of us, making a few simple lifestyle changes might be all we need to avoid the development of heart disease. 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.
These are the 3 key factors to manage your heart health holistically. Aim to get some form of physical activity every day – the American Heart Association suggests a combination of moderate and vigorous activity thirty minutes 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.
Even if you don’t have any heart issues, it’s 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.
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. However you may have to eat very large amounts of these items to have an effect on your cholesterol, with Nestlé Omega Plus, you only need to drink two glasses a day to manage cholesterol levels.
Now 28, Farah Nadia is clear of any heart disease symptoms but she has to be vigilant as her father’s family tree has it – both her father’s elder sister and younger sibling has heart issues. To make sure she stays free from the onset of heart disease, she drinks milk with added plant sterols to block cholesterol, gets regular exercise and has her heart health checked regularly by doctors. “I’m not going to let heart disease happen to me, not when I’m able to do something about it,” is her response to this turn of events in her life.
After getting to know Farah's life story, it really opened my eyes, as my father's side of the family always had health complications, which I had lost a few relatives over it. I may look healthy, but I honestly have to say that I don't have a healthy eating habit, as I tend to stay away from vegetables.
Most likely, I will start consuming more vegetables from now on and of course, as the milk person that I am, I will definitely make it a habit to drink Nestle Omega Plus Milk!
Oh before I forget, I will also be joining the Walk-A-Mile marathon with my family. So hope I can see you with your family and friends on the 3rd of September at Perdana Botanical Garden!
Do make sure to practice a healthy lifestyle ya!
Till the next post, see you again!