Misconceptions on Heart Health in the Philippines

During the pandemic, Filipino doctors took it upon themselves to share videos providing free information about common health conditions to combat medical misinformation. However, some of these videos were manipulated to promote unregistered supplement brands. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted that the promotion and advertising of unregistered medical products has long been a global issue, which may have been worsened by the pandemic.

Eleanor Castillo, a public health expert at the University of the Philippines (UP), has pointed out that Filipinos are particularly susceptible to false health claims due to a shortage of doctors in the country and heavy internet usage. As a result, the consequences of using unapproved treatments could be severe.

The Department of Health (DOH) states that cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of illness, disability, and death in the Philippines. Ischemic heart disease, hypertensive disease, and stroke are the most common cardiovascular ailments affecting Filipinos.

Let’s explore some cardiovascular disease misconceptions and the truth behind them:

  1. Only senior citizens get cardiovascular diseases: While age does play a role in increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), heart-related issues such as hypertension or high cholesterol levels are now being observed in younger adults due to sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets. To mitigate this risk, it is important to adopt healthy habits such as having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and scheduling routine health check-ups.

  2. Cholesterol is bad for your health: Cholesterol is actually essential for the body as it helps make cell membranes, hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol can come from the foods you eat and the liver, which produces the cholesterol the body needs. There is “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and “good” cholesterol (HDL). The bad cholesterol contributes to the plaque build-up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can lower your bad cholesterol by avoiding foods high in saturated fat, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.

  3. You can eat anything as long as you have maintenance drugs: While medications can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent artery blockage, consuming foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs, potentially leading to increased cholesterol levels. It is important to maintain a balanced diet to ensure the efficacy of medication.

Filipinos must remain vigilant, informed, and proactive about their health. By staying informed and adopting healthy lifestyle choices, we can work towards a healthier future for ourselves and our communities. Let's prioritize our heart health and strive to make informed decisions that contribute to our overall well-being.

For more information, please visit our People Solutions (opens a new window) page, or contact us at info.philippines@lockton.com (opens a new window).