by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The main job of the heart is to supply the body with all the oxygen and nutrients that it needs; so it is important that each person takes care of their heart, because we need it to survive; this according to Cardiologist, Dr. Caroline Lawrence of Meridian Medical Consultants.
“I have seen a decent amount of abuse of people’s hearts in this country; and I was shocked when I first came back home and saw that. I wasn’t expecting to see this amount of heart disease; so yea, it is important that we look after it as much and as best as we can.”
In commemoration of Heart Awareness Month, Dr Lawrence sat down with Jamie and Kortensia of Good Morning SKN where she educated people about heart disease and how to take care of the heart.
“What is the leading cause of heart disease?”
The Cardiologist explained that when the blood vessels which run on the outside of the heart become blocked or narrowed, the inside of the heart no longer gets the blood that it needs; this is then referred to as a heart attack.
Dr. Lawrence shared that medical conditions such as elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar (Diabetes) and high blood cholesterol, that can cause restriction of the blood vessels and can impact the heart muscles negatively
In addition, the doctor said some people were born with heart disease. She explained that the heart should have four chambers but some people were born with only two chambers. A hole in the heart is also another congenital issue or defect found in children at birth.
” Some children were born with a hole in their heart; and that would mean then that the blood that is only supposed to go to the lungs to get oxygen, is now going outside the heart with low oxygen because of that whole that allows for the transmission of blood.”
The doctor further mentioned that sometimes the common flu can attack the heart, enlarging the vessel and potentially leading to heart failure.
Dr. Lawrence encouraged individuals to take care of their heart by eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables; and avoid foods high in cholesterol like mutton, steak and beef, as well as full cream cheese and full cream milk. She acknowledged that sometimes, we as a people eat the things we shouldn’t, hence the importance of exercise.
Dr. Lawrence suggested that adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobics each week, which is a nice way of looking after the heart.
These strategies of eating a balanced diet and exercise can improve heart health giving the vessel the critical care it requires to function optimally.
“You’re supposed to love your heart. I have seen the heart pull through for so many people who would have abused their heart and their heart still loving them, still working for them; but we need to start loving our heart more, with doing the regular exercise, by checking your numbers- pressure, sugar, cholesterol level.”