Charter Files; A Gallant Fight against Atherosclerosis

Manila Bulletin, February 4, 2003 | Go to article overview

Charter Files; A Gallant Fight against Atherosclerosis


Ricky M., age 35, never knew what hit him. He was marketing director in his firm, being groomed to become the next CEO. During a brainstorming meeting with his team, he suddenly complained of chest pains, became cold and clammy, and a few minutes, he collapsed unconscious and was proclaimed DOA (dead on arrival) at the hospital emergency room. He left a grieving wife and a two-year-old son.

This scenario is repeated many times over worldwide, and more so in developing countries like the Philippines where cardiovascular diseases are now the number one cause of deaths.

Despite the advances in modern medicine with newer, more effective and better tolerated drugs for high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and other known cardiovascular risk factors, control of atherosclerotic complications such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure, remains woefully inadequate. The statistics still give any clinical epidemiologist goose pimples, too alarming for comfort.

What is quite clear is that atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is not only a problem to be handled by the cardiologists or heart specialists. It?s far too complicated with multi-organ complications. Hence, it also requires a multi-specialty approach with specialists from various fields of specialization working as a team to lick the problem. It can never be totally eradicated like smallpox, but it can be controlled to reasonably unalarming levels.

The Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) and the Philippine Lipid Society (PLS), both non-profit organizations, are spearheading 24 medical and healthcare organizations including the Department of Health in this alliance against atherosclerosis.

The alliance has organized a big convention on Feb. 10-12 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. About 1,500 delegates are expected to participate in the convention with the theme ?Hand in hand in health.? (Interested physicians and healthcare professionals may contact the secretariat at 631-7970, 687-2841 and 687-7073 for registration).

?We hope that everyone attending this convention will go home not only with new knowledge and insights into prevention and control of atherosclerosis, but more importantly, with a firmer commitment in achieving this goal,? Dr. Gregorio Patacsil, Jr., PSH president and Dr. Dante Morales, PLS president, said in their joint message.

Doctors are now advised to make a comprehensive or thorough assessment of the patient to identify those who are at high risk of developing atherosclerotic complications. This is called a global risk assessment, and it guides the physician on what medicines to prescribe. …

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