CPR training fire up crowd

Valentine’s Day is two days away. What is the best or most precious Valentine gift to give to a loved one or significant other?

It should be priceless. It is taking good care of your heart first and foremost, taking good care of your loved one’s heart and influencing your family and community to engage in healthy practices. Starting this February 14, make every single day a heart day. Empower your mind to power your heart.

This urgent message was hyped by a strong force of cardiovascular experts collectively known as the 1,780-member Philippine Heart Association (PHA).

Aptly themed “Power Your Heart”, Heart Month 2018 in Bacolod – initiated and staged by the PHA National and Western Visayas-Negros Occ. Chapter in the City of Smiles – was a high-impact health and lifestyle activity that gathered at least 500 teachers, students, police officers, local government employees, Zumba groups, medical representatives and professionals.

At the crack of dawn, people donning sports and Zumba attire began to stream the venue, the New Bacolod Government Center. A lively Zumba fitness marathon was staged as a contest with 15 Zumba Zins from Team CDFS as judges who gave juicy prices to usher in the event and set a festive mood.

The program hosts were PHA Western Visayas-Negros Occ. Dr. Michael Cabalatungan and TV host Charie Ginete-Ilon

Thirty heart doctors (eight from PHA National and 22 from PHA Western Visayas-Negros Occ.) as well as fitness icons and celebrities Jim and Toni Saret, took the front line – leading the Zumba marathon and urging the public to switch to a healthy regimen to stay healthy and prevent heart disease.

The Zumba competition banks on its enduring popularity as a daily physical regimen and a favourite past time of the young and old, the well-heeled and commoner women and men. “It is an easy means to stay fit. It is a diversion and stress-reliever” were the most common replies we got from the contestants. A few said “it challenges our creativity and ingenuity because most of the time, we design and sew our costumes and we have to make do with the meager working budget.”

Most of the participants are the place’s habitués who come in droves on early weekend mornings.

Fasting at 9 the night before to be at the frontline, they dashed to the Center’s sprawling grounds before sunrise. Early birds who lined up the consultation desks as early as 5AM were also given discount coupons for cardiac exams at the Riverside Medical Center (RMC) and Heart Month tees.

Unmindful of the 25°C temperature, the Bacoleños and other Negrenses danced Zumba, rounded booths and patiently lined up to avail of the free ABCD examinations – ankle branchial index, blood pressure, capillary blood pressure and dipstick urine (proteinuria) – with health consultations; and, to be part of PHA history. Heart Month 2018 is the first ever joint PHA National and Bacolod Chapter-led Heart Month celebration in this city.

They stayed on to join the fun interactive and educational activities – the 52100 healthy lifestyle code lecture and hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) lecture, demo and trainings. To stir interest, the 52100 and CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) AVPs were played. Actor-politician Richard Gomez is the latest endorser of the AED AVP. The other version is top-billed by basketball legend Alvin Patrimonio.

Making up the team of CPR facilitators were Manila- and Bacolod-based heart doctors and health workers from the Amity Volunteer Fire Brigade in Bacolod.

PHA played up the value of being CPR-ready. “CPR saves lives. Beating the 2-4 second window period is crucial in restoring the heart rhythm to prevent irreversible neurologic damage. Equipping Filipinos 10 to 65 years old with CPR skills (early and effective chest compressions, 2.5 inches deep, 100 to 120 pumps per minute) and empowering them to propagate it, essentially makes them a major partner in the CPR-Ready PH 2021 Campaign,” said Dr. Orlando Bugarin, PHA president and past chair of the PHA CPR Council.

The CPR on Wheels & Wings (CWW) the vehicle of the CPR-Ready PH, has trained closed to 80,000 lay people, most of whom are barangay health workers and tourism stakeholders, travel/restaurant workers in 15 top Philippine destinations where there are PHA chapters and/or members. ?Dr. Raul Lapitan, immediate past PHA president is the architect of CWW.

PHA NCR Director and Advocacy Committee Chair Dr. Ronald Cuyco said “knowledge and awareness are key to prevention and disease management. The 52100 practice prescribes a daily habit of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables; 2 hours limit on recreational screen time and gadget use as well as not more than 2 grams of salt intake among meals; 1 hour of exercise or physical activity; 0 sugary beverages; and, 0 smoking.”

Regular or daily physical activities (like Zumba and walking which are free to do), going vice-free and keeping a healthy diet through moderation are good practices to stay fit and healthy.

PHA National vice president Dr. Nannette Rey, concurrent Heart Month chair said “cardiovascular diseases (CVD) which includes diseases of the heart and the blood vessels, is the top cause of death not just in the Philippines but the world over.”

“CVDs, also called non-communicable diseases, are hereditary and lifestyle-induced. That is why during the Heart Month, assess and modify your lifestyle anew and have your numbers (BP, cholesterol, sugar levels) checked. Empower your will to pamper your hearts,” said PHA President Dr. Jorge Sison.

It has also been noted that heart patients among the younger population – between 20 to 35 years old – are increasing due to sedentary habits or sit-down lifestyle, Western diet, convenience foods, sugary beverages, smoking and stress, said PHA Western Visayas-Negros Occidental President Dr. Alan Tenerife.

According to the Bacolod heart doctors, admittedly, 70 percent of Bacolod foods are sugar-infused. The place is noted for its gorgeous sights and heavenly cakes and all sorts of dessert. Their adobo and other viands are seasoned with sugar as well. Diabetes is prevalent in this city where sugar plantations abound.

Bacolod City Tourism Officer Maria Elma Gerasmo said that Bacolod posted P15-B in tourism earnings in 2017 and a 48 percent increase in arrival turnout – a constant indication of Bacolod’s steady rise as a provincial metropolis. Embracing this cosmopolitan lifestyle and the advent of technology has exposed locals to health vulnerabilities.

Being savvy on the preventive (healthy lifestyle) and reactive (hands-only CPR) measures is the Heart Month’s rationale and the best channel to develop it. As a lead agency of Heart Month, the PHA National has been working with its regional chapters since the seventies in holding the occasion as a means to also strengthen chapter activation and PHA National-Chapter ties which is one of the top priorities of Sison.

The past years saw the enormous Heart Month celebrations in Cebu, Iloilo, Biñan (Laguna) and Davao. Mounting such huge events has made an impact in sending urgent PHA health messages on the crucial value of adopting 52100 and being CPR-ready and -equipped in every nook and cranny of the Philippines.

Multi-links – PHA’s pharmaceutical allies based in Bacolod and Manila and Allianz Life Insurance – made the conduct of the Heart Month 2018 in Bacolod possible.

Meanwhile in the traditional pre-Heart Month event, an On-The-Spot the Essay Writing Contest was held on February 9, 2018 at RMC. The high school student participants’ works centered on the significance of heart-healthy practices to prevent CVDs; and, imparts the message that it is wise to inculcate healthy practices early on.

They were from the St. Scholastica’s Academy, Domingo Lacson National High School, Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, Bata National High School, West Negros University High School, Negros Occidental High School and Bacolod City National High School.*