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Heart takes centre stage this month

Published:Friday | February 1, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Deborah Chen, executive director of The Heart Foundation of Jamaica, attaches a pin on to Dr Fenton Ferguson, minister of health, during the launch of Heart Month 2013, held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Tuesday. Looking on is Dr Knox Hagley, chairman of The Heart Foundation of Jamaica. - Gladstone Taylor / Photographer

THE HEART Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) on Tuesday officially launched Heart Month 2013, which is being observed under the theme: 'Risk for heart disease: does sex matter?'

Activities for the month will continue until the end of February.

Addressing the launch at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, chairman of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica Dr Knox Hagley said one of the reasons fuelling the high rate of heart disease in Jamaica is that Jamaicans continue to pay scant regard to the preventative measures.

"There are things that can be done to lessen the impact of the disease that are not being done. Two most prominent causes of heart disease in Jamaica (are) hypertension and diabetes. It's such a tragedy that we see parents suffering from these disorders and not trying to let their children know that they don't have to come to the same kind of problem."

"What is even more, the children know mama has (hypertension), papa has (hypertension), but they are not trying to find out what they can do to prevent the obvious. Several things can be done so that, even though that individual has inherited the possibility for the disease, the disease doesn't have to happen," Dr Hagley said.

In the meantime, Deborah Chen, HFJ executive director, said the centre is seeing where a near 40 per cent of the electrocardiogram tests carried out show abnormality.

Additionally, she pointed out that the obesity has become the "most striking" in terms of gender difference and that there are signs to suggest that the population is becoming increasingly overweight, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.