Treatment of chronic conditions becomes more important and the number of people living with chronic conditions increases as populations get older and people live longer. Chronic conditions are on the rise as a result of demographic and epidemiological transformation in all countries. It is established that chronic conditions that constitute a global healthcare issue accounted for 63 percent of 57 million deaths that occurred in 2008.
Our country should be ready to fight with chronic diseases due to its aging population and changing lifestyles. According to the data on death of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), the share of cardiac diseases in overall causes of death tends to increase. Cardiac diseases ranked the first among all causes of death with 40 percent in 1989, 45 percent in 1993 and 40 percent in 2009. When assessed together with the mortality and morbidity caused by the medical condition, ischemic cardiac conditions and cerebrovascular conditions rank second and third, respectively, among the top 10 medical conditions causing Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) losses on a nation-wide basis in Turkey. Life years lost due to ischemic cardiac conditions constitute 8 percent of all losses whereas losses due to cerebrovascular conditions comprise 6 percent of all losses.
Well then, what are the factors that threaten our cardiovascular health and what should we do to protect our hearts? Hypertension, cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and smoking are among factors that threaten cardiac health. Harmful substances in cigarettes and high blood glucose levels damage the vein walls, leading to vascular occlusion and subsequently to medical conditions such as heart attack and stroke. High cholesterol and obesity result in atherosclerosis. Consequently, all of the above-mentioned are cardiovascular risk factors leading to death.
With the rise in cardiac conditions, we now understand the value of preventive healthcare measures better. Healthy nutrition, preferring fresh foods instead of ready-made meals, avoiding excessive use of salt, regular health checks and being careful of blood values are among cardiac health prevention measures. Moreover, it is also important to be optimistic to life, to spend quality time with family and friends and to keep the sleep patterns under control. In addition, avoiding a stationary lifestyle and doing regular physical activity are also prerequisites for cardiac health.
Those who have cardiac conditions running in their families should also be aware of the risk and take suitable measures. Regular cardiac health checks and supplements promoting cardiac health such as omega-3 and coenzyme Q10 are also important. Oils such as fish oil, linseed oil and chia seed oil may be preferred for omega-3 supplementation purposes. As we are now going through the Cardiac Health Week, let us think and care more about our hearts.