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THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

special

HEALTHY HEART

Keep it
beating

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

2 healthy heart

Prevention
and protection

Be in the know
HERE are the recommended
screenings and tests you should
undergo at least every two years
beginning at the age of 20 (every

five years for cholesterol and


glucose tests) to be up to date on
conditions affecting your heart
health:

What?

Why?

Whats healthy?

Blood pressure
Measures the force created by
blood pushing against arterial
walls.

High blood pressure causes


arterial walls to thicken,
restricting blood flow and
making the heart work harder.

Less than 120/80mmHG.

Pulse check
Measures heart beats per
minute.

Able to detect arterial


fibrillation (abnormally fast or
irregular heartbeats).

60 to 80 beats per minute


at rest.

Body mass index (BMI)


Measures if weight is
proportional to height.

Excess weight can lead to high


blood pressure, high cholesterol
and diabetes all risk factors
for diabetes and stroke.

18.5 to 24.9
More than 25: overweight
More than 30: obese

Waist circumference
An assessment of body fat
calculated by measuring around
the waist.

Excess abdominal fat (versus fat


that collect around the hips) is
associated with a higher risk of
heart disease.

80cm (31 inches) or less for


Asian women
90cm (35 inches) or less for
Asian men

Cholesterol
A blood test to determine how
much cholesterol is in the
bloodstream.

Excessive cholesterol, especially


LDL (low-density lipoprotein or
bad cholesterol), clogs arteries.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein
or good cholesterol) moves
harmful fats out of the
bloodstream.

Total cholesterol less than


5.2mmol/l; LDL-C less than
3.3mmol/l; HDL-C more than
1.4mmol/l for women and
1.04mmol/l for men.

Glucose
A blood test measuring the
amount of glucose, or blood
sugar, in the bloodstream.

Used to diagnose diabetes.


Diabetes affects cholesterol and
triglyceride (a form of fat)
levels, which affect the heart.

Fasting: less than 5.6mmol/l


Random: less than 7.8mmol/l

Source: Health & Beauty 2014 in collaboration with National Heart Institute.
A happy heart leads to a long, happy life.

By THERESA BELLE
THE heart is essentially a pump
that keeps all systems functioning
smoothly, beating an average of 70
times per minute. This adds up to
approximately 2.5 million times in
the average human lifetime.
This is no easy task but it is one
we can facilitate with proper heart
care. It is common knowledge that
the key to a long, happy life is a
healthy heart, but are we doing
enough to keep our hearts
functioning optimally?
Statistics indicate we are not.
According to the National Heart
Institute (IJN), cardiovascular
disease continues to be the
primary cause of death in Malaysia
throughout 1990 to 2010, it
accounted for 25% of all medically
certified deaths and was 2.5 times

more fatal than all the cancers


combined.
The main cause of heart attack
worldwide is atherosclerosis,
which is the result of systemic
plaque (excess fat and cholesterol)
build-up in the coronary arteries.
This plaque can disrupt the flow
of blood and oxygen by causing
arterial blockage as well as
constricting arteries, making
them narrow and less elastic.
Plaque build-up worsens over
time, which is why heart disease
is commonly associated with the
elderly. However, doctors stress
that this is no longer the case
as heart disease affects younger
people today due to widespread
practice of unhealthy lifestyle
habits.
Genetics play a role, too for
example, your risk of contracting

heart disease is higher if your


family members have it before the
age of 55 (male) or 65 (female).
The 10-year gap often observed
between men and women with
heart disease can be attributed
to the effect of the oestrogen
hormone, which researchers
believe plays a protective role
to the heart.
Post-menopausal women, who
experience a drop in oestrogen
levels, are therefore more prone to
heart disease.
Besides age, genetics and gender,
all the other risk factors of heart
disease are controllable. With the
fast-paced lifestyles we lead today,
an early start in heart care is
essential to keep heart
complications at bay. Here are
the main aspects of maintaining
a healthy heart:

Exercise
If you are overweight and
spend most of your time behind
a desk, it may be time to make
some changes for the sake of
your heart. A sedentary lifestyle
is one of the top risk factors of
heart disease in the modern day.
Physical activity is beneficial
in so many ways it improves
blood and oxygen circulation,
lowers blood pressure, reduces
body fat and strengthens the
heart and cardiovascular
system.
The type of exercises you do
should be tailored to your
lifestyle and preferences, but

you can also incorporate simple


steps by modifying your
everyday routine. For example,
take the stairs instead of the lift,
stretch after long periods of
inactivity or simply get up from
your desk and take a walk every
half an hour.
Running on a treadmill three
times a week may not be
sufficient an active lifestyle is
one that involves as much
constant and consistent
movement as possible. Even
housework such as sweeping
and gardening can be used as
opportunities to just get moving.

Physical activity can benefit your body in a variety of ways.

Heart-healthy habits

Cultivate
a healthy
lifestyle.

The main reason for the


epidemic of heart diseases is the
evolvement of modern society
from agriculture-based economy
to industrial, service and
information-based economies,
says Dr Lee Yew Ming,
consultant cardiothoracic
surgeon at Mahkota Medical
Centre.
This leads to increased food
consumption, smoking, workrelated stress and lack of
exercise. The end result is
metabolic syndrome a cluster
of conditions including
hypertension, obesity (especially
central obesity, or fat in the
waist), diabetes mellitus,
abnormally high bad cholesterol
(LDL) and/or triglyceride levels
in the blood. All of these
accelerate the development of
atherosclerosis.
Smoking is commonly
associated with heart disease.
This is because smoking
damages cells that line the
coronary arteries, decreases
oxygen supply to the heart, and
increases blood pressure, heart
rate and blood clotting.
Excessive alcohol
consumption is another risk
factor as it raises blood pressure,
which in turn increases the risk
of heart attacks.

Nutrition
Plaque develops with high
levels of LDL (low-density
lipoprotein, also known as bad
cholestrol) in the blood.
On the other hand, HDL
(high-density lipoprotein) helps
remove excess cholesterol from
the bloodstream. Foods rich in
omega-3 fatty acids such as fish
are effective in improving your
HDL to LDL ratio.
Plant sterols found in fruits,
vegetables, legumes and
wholegrains are known to lower
cholesterol and subsequently,
the risk of heart disease.
You can also prepare meals in
a healthier way through
steaming, grilling or roasting
instead of frying. These methods
retain the nutrients of food
without compromising their
taste.
A healthy diet with five
different fruit and vegetable
servings per day alone can
provide major protection against
heart disease, says Dr Ho Chon
Hoo, cardiothoracic surgeon and
resident consultant at Regency
Specialist Hospital.
Dr Ho also advises to not skip
meals, eat more calories early in
the day and less in the evening,
and limit intake of red meat,
baked goods and fried food.
Eat well,
live well.

> SEE ALSO PAGE 10

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

4 healthy heart

Your heart is
in your hands
An older heart is at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases so it is
important to determine your heart age and make the necesary
lifestyle changes if needed.

Calculating wellness
AS we age, the risk of developing
cardiovascular disease increases.
This risk is also affected by
dietary and lifestyle habits.
Eating foods of high cholesterol
and saturated fat content can
lead to heart complications as
excess cholesterol and fat clog up
the arteries.
Poor health condition can
cause your heart to age faster. An
older heart is at greater risk of
facing various complications as
its ability to function optimally
declines.

Discover, learn

Lead a healthy lifestyle to protect your cardiovascular health.

A GREAT deal of attention is paid


to maintaining heart health, partly
driven by the widespread
incidences of cardiovascular
diseases in recent times.
According to the World Health
Organizations Non-communicable
Diseases Country Profiles 2014,
cardiovascular diseases account
for 36% of total deaths caused by
non-communicable diseases in
Malaysia.
This worrying trend is reflected
in the increasing number of young
people dealing with heart issues,
which are no longer faced by the
elderly or men only.
As our bodies age, so do our
hearts. However, lifestyle choices
can accelerate heart ageing,
meaning your heart gets older
at a faster rate if you practise
unhealthy habits.

Managing risk factors


Cher Siew Wei, corporate
wellness manager of Nestl,
explains that an increasingly

Milk is not just


for children and
the elderly it
is necessary
throughout our
lives as it benefits
people of all ages.
Cher Siew Wei

sedentary lifestyle and habits are


responsible for the rapid ageing
of the heart, especially among
younger people. Among the
factors that affect heart age are:
Biological age It goes
without saying that ageing takes a
physical toll on the human body.
Blood vessels can become less
flexible as you age, making it
harder for blood to flow through
easily and increasing the risk of
heart disease.
Dietary habits You are

Nestl Omega
Plus milk powder
contains plants
sterols that can
help lower
cholestrol levels.

what you eat takes on an


important meaning as food intake
can affect the condition of your
heart.
Foods rich in saturated fats such
as animal skin and coconut milk
should be kept to a minimum,
along with cholesterol-rich items
such as seafood and egg yolk.
Instead, strive to maintain a
balanced diet with lots of fruits
and vegetables, which provide the
optimal level of polyunsaturated
fats.
Body weight Lack of exercise
and greater intake of unhealthy
foods can impact long-term health,
especially if they lead to obesity.
Individuals whose weight
exceeds the healthy limit
according to their body mass
index and with high visceral fat
are more likely to develop heart
disease, along with the array of
complications caused by obesity.
Cholesterol level Known as
one of the biggest risk factors in
heart disease, cholesterol levels
are affected by bad (LDL) and
good (HDL) cholesterol in the
blood.
Too much LDL cholestrol can
cause fatty material to build up in
artery walls, restricting blood flow
to the heart, brain and rest of the
body.
Blood pressure level
Individuals with high blood
pressure are more likely to
develop a heart disease or even
a stroke.
Blood sugar level Diabetics
also have a predisposition to heart
disease.
Smoking Notorious for its
detrimental effects on health in
general, smoking can greatly affect
the heart smokers are almost
twice as likely to have a heart
attack compared to non-smokers.

Based on the Framingham


Heart Study (a longitudinal study
that contributed much of what is
now common knowledge on
heart disease, including the
effects of diet, exercise and
medication), the Nestl Omega
Plus Heart Age Calculator is
designed to provide an indication
about heart health based on
certain lifestyle aspects of the
user.
This includes gender, age,
smoking habits, cholesterol level

Effective cholesterol
control
To maintain heart health, one
must first look at controlling
cholesterol levels. Excess
cholesterol and fatty deposits clog
up arteries a condition known as
coronary artery disease, which
places one at risk of heart attack
and stroke.
A good way to manage
cholesterol levels is to increase
your intake of plant sterols. Plant
sterols occur naturally in small
amounts in wholegrains, fruits,
vegetables, legumes, seeds and
other plants.
As they have similar molecular
structures as cholesterol, they are
able to block cholesterol from
being absorbed in the bloodstream.
The cholesterol-lowering
properties of plant sterols are
globally recognised today, with
researchers having spent
significant time studying its
properties and efficacy over the
last 50 years.
However, studies have also
shown that a daily intake of at
least 1.2g plant sterols is required
to be effective in blocking out
cholesterol.
As they only exist in small
amounts in fruits and vegetables,
an easier alternative to ensure
plant sterol intake is to drink two
glasses of milk with added plant

and family history of it,


existing medical conditions
and medication as well as
height and weight to calculate
body mass index.
All these factors are used
to determine your heart age,
which gives an idea of how
healthy your heart is.
The risk of getting heart
disease increases the further
your heart age is from your
actual age, says Cher Siew Wei,
corporate wellness manager
of Nestl.
The results of this heart age
calculator should not be taken as
a medical diagnosis or substitute
for professional medical advice.
Instead, the application only
provides information on heart
health, cholesterol management
and information about plant
sterols (a substance in plants
able to block the absorption of
cholesterol from the intestine
into the bloodstream).
Check out the application at
the Nestl Omega Plus Facebook
page, where you can also find
information to help you maintain
a healthy heart.
sterols daily.
Nestl Omega Plus milk powder
contains Acticol (a plant sterol)
and is high in calcium. Two glasses
of this milk daily will provide 1.2g
plant sterols, scientifically proven
to help lower cholesterol levels.
Milk is not just for children
and the elderly it is necessary
throughout our lives as it benefits
people of all ages, says Cher.
While it is important to educate
younger groups on exercise, a
balanced diet and sufficient milk
intake to protect their heart
health, a bigger challenge may
exist within middle-aged groups
who find it hard to break
unhealthy habits or reintroduce
milk in their diets.
We can make the switch to
a healthier lifestyle gradually
with small adjustments or
modifications over time, Cher
shares.
This can be done by replacing
one hot drink a day with a glass
of milk, or taking milk with cereal
and oatmeal.
Ultimately, it is up to the
individual to make dietary and
lifestyle choices that will benefit
them in the long term. You can
take the first step today with
Nestl Omega Plus milk to keep
your heart young and healthy.

n For more information, visit


www.nestle.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

6 healthy heart

Here are some indicative early


signs of mental disturbances that
should pique your concern:








Loss of interest and passion


Drastic change in behaviour
Change in sleep pattern
Weight loss
Decreased productivity, function and
diminished sense of presence
Social withdrawal and isolation
Prolonged sadness over a period of two
weeks or more
Diminished ability and initiative to
perform everyday tasks and make simple
decisions
Suicidal thoughts or behaviour

Concern for mental health


THE National Health and
Morbidity Survey (NHMS) III in
2006 indicated an 11.2%
prevalence of psychiatric
morbidity among Malaysian adults
higher than the levels reported 10
years before in 1996s NHMS II,
which was 10.6%.
The latest NHMS in 2011 also
found that 1.8% of Malaysians face
depression, while 1.7% experience
generalised anxiety disorders.
It is possible that these recorded
numbers are not reflective of the
true situation, as many suffer from
mental disorders in silence.
This tells us that mental health
issues are very real and affect
members of our community every
day.
Depression and anxiety exist
on a rather expansive spectrum
of mental disorders; obsessive
compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
and attention deficit hyperactive
disorder (ADHD) are just some
of the others that fall on this
spectrum.
Thanks to modern science,
we know so much more about
psychology and psychiatry than
we did a couple of decades ago.
Despite this, however, the
mechanisms of the human mind
still remain a mystery to many.
From a medical point of view, it is
quicker to diagnose a condition
with distinct physical symptoms,
such as a fever or flu, than it is to
recognise a mental condition.

Depression, for example, is often


unnoticed until the depressed acts
out in an unhealthy, non-typical
manner.

Invisible wounds
According to Dr Nurashikin
Ibrahim, public health specialist
and head of the Mental Health Unit
in the Non-Communicable Disease
Section of the Disease Control
Division, Health Ministry, this is
why each and every one of us plays
a crucial role in guarding each
others mental health.
We can look out for each other
by checking up on loved ones and
being alert for signs of depression,
she says.
Dr Nurashikin goes on to say
that as members of society, we can
and should be able to recognise
those among us who require
assistance and help them seek such
assistance from professionals.
Displaying care and empathy can
also go a long way in making loved
ones feel better.

Learning to cope
Most of time, the source of
mental distress can be traced
to financial, work, school or
relationship stressors in everyday
life.
This is because people handle
stress differently, and some are not
able to apply effective coping
mechanisms.

The general attitude towards


mental health at the current time is
more reactive than proactive, says
Dr Nurashikin.
We need to look beyond seeking
stress relief in the presence of
trauma and learn to actively
address and care for mental health,
as we do physical health.
A recent example of nationwide
trauma involves the distressing
aircraft tragedies of MH370 and
MH17.
Occurring just months apart,
these disasters claimed the lives
of many Malaysians as well as
friends and family from around
the world.
Many individuals who lost loved
ones had difficulties coping with
the reality of their situation, which
called for grief counselling.
Understandably, grief is an
emotional response to loss and
may lead to mental disturbance.
Emotional, mental and physical
health are all related mechanisms
of the typical human, so when
one of them is compromised,
it can affect the overall state of
being.

Seeking professional
help
When the reality of your
situation begins to bog you down,
it can be extremely helpful to have
someone by your side.
If loved ones are not able to
perform this role, it is a good idea

to have a professional, such as a


counsellor, step in.
Counsellors in schools and
workplaces should be able to
contextualise your predicaments
and circumstances to get to the
root causes of issues troubling you.
Often, just opening up to
someone can provide the relief of
knowing you do not have to face
adversity alone.
Aid organisations such as The
Befrienders are able to lend a
comforting shoulder, too.
This organisation particularly
provides emotional support and
treats every troubled person with
equal respect with the option of
anonymity.
Peer support groups can also
play this supportive role in
public service departments and
government agencies, for instance,
there is the Rakan Pebimbing
Perkhidmatan Awam (Akrab)
programme, in which officers
are appointed within the
department to act as peer
counsellors.
The philosophy of this
programme is to Help Yourself in
Helping Others as a two-way street
of offering support and advice
while receiving exposure,
experience and insights into
different everyday situations.
Programmes such as this
promote understanding, mutual
support and human development
in the pursuit of better mental
health.

Twelve
tips to
manage
stress
1. Remind yourself to stay
calm before your stress level
rises.
2. Practise taking deep, slow
abdominal breaths you can
use this relaxing breathing
technique to manage stress and
anxiety anywhere and any
time.
3. Say relax to yourself as a
verbal reminder to keep cool.
4. Draw on your spirituality
and religion; pray or meditate
if it can provide emotional
support and help provide relief.
5. Lightly massage neck and
shoulder muscles, which tend
to tense up under distress.
Besides relieving muscle
tension, this can also improve
blood circulation.
6. Take some time out to
listen to light, relaxing music or
any sound that make you feel
better.
7. Participate in fun
recreational activities such as
having a picnic on a beautiful
day, swimming, hiking or
camping. Spending some time
in nature with loved ones, even
if for a little while, may lighten
your mood.
8. Exercise to release
endorphins (happy hormones)
while relieving muscle tension
and keeping yourself in shape.
9. Practise positive thinking
as much as you can. This
involves being able to remain
positive and optimistic while
facing adversity in negative
environments.
10. Talk to a confidante this
can be a close friend or family
member who is able to provide
support in your time of need.
11. Eat a healthy, balanced
diet as the saying goes, you
are what you eat.
12. Manage sleep wisely if
you are not getting enough
sleep at night, take a short nap
during the day.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

AS part of its efforts to promote mental


health, the Health Ministry (MOH) observes
World Mental Health Day, which is held on
Oct 10 every year.
This year, the Dignity in Mental Health
theme seeks to address and eliminate the
pervasive stigma against people living with
mental health conditions.
The World Health Organization champions
the human rights of those with mental
health challenges and this is a cause adopted
in Malaysia by MOH.
Through this theme, we hope to foster
greater public awareness of mental health
and eradicate the stigma surrounding these
disorders and the people who face them,
says Dr Nurashikin Ibrahim (pic), public
health specialist and head of Mental Health
Unit in the Non-Communicable Disease
Section of the Disease Control Division, MOH.
She goes on to say that this includes
getting people to understand the
circumstances of mental disorders, which
will also lead to greater acceptance of mental
health patients instead of them being
ostracised or isolated.
Dr Nurashikin explains that there is a
difference between mental health problems
and severe mental illnesses the latter
includes schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,
which may involve a genetic predisposition
on top of inability to cope and function
normally.

Everyones business
Individuals are considered mentally fit if
they are able to realise their potential and
work productively as a contributing member
of society, while effectively coping with daily
stress, says Dr Nurashikin.
However, mental health disorders such
as depression can affect anyone at any point
of time as they are greatly influenced by
social factors. If unable to cope with stress in
their work or home environment, one can
appear responsive but begin to slump into a
depressive state that leaves them barely
functional.
For this reason, resilience is a large
part of combating mental disorders.
While schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
are clear-cut and require specific treatment,
less severe mental disorders such as
depression are treatable and can be
proactively prevented through effective
stress management.
Yet, NHMS 2011 showed approximately
340,000 Malaysian adults face depression.
Many more suffer without obtaining
assistance and support through proper
channels, or simply without having their
symptoms recognised.
Understanding this is crucial in forming
an inclusive perception towards patients
with mental disorders.

Moving on dignified
There are currently four mental
institutions and 45 general hospitals that

healthy heart 7

Acceptance
through understanding
Individuals are
considered mentally
fit if they are able
to realise their
potential and
work productively
as a contributing
member of society,
while effectively
coping with daily
stress.
Dr Nurashikin Ibrahim

offer psychiatric services and more than 900


clinics in the country that offer primary
mental health care services ranging from
promotion, screening and early detection to
treatment and rehabilitation.
There are also 14 community mental
health centres throughout the country that
offer mental health services.
Counsellors are also abundant in schools
and workplaces throughout the country.
While they are not able to diagnose
mental disorders (this is within the expertise
of a psychiatrist or specialist), they should be
able to recognise early symptoms of mental
disorders and refer severe cases to an
expert.
Depending on the severity of ones
condition, mental disorders can be treated
through therapy and medication. There is a
higher chance of recovery if the problem is
brought to attention and treated as soon as
possible.
After seeking treatment, rehabilitation is
the next vital aspect in treating mental
disorders.
Once a patient is deemed stable enough to
go back to everyday activities, they require
support to readjust as a functioning member
of the community.
There are rehabilitation systems in place
such as at Hospital Permai in Johor, where

Many adults who face depression can obtain assistance and support through readily available
channels such as clinics, non-governmental organisations and peer groups.

patients who are stable enough to rejoin the


community are placed in jobs to regain their
footing in society.
MOH strives to play its part in educating
and assisting the public for a healthier
Malaysia.
The Mental Health Programme is

currently paying greater attention to address


mental health at workplace and disaster
resilience mental disorders such as
postpartum depression to foster a more
thorough understanding of mental issues in
the country.
Besides that, MOH also continuously trains
and recruits mental health professionnals to
support the needs of Malaysians.
It regularly organises programmes that
address stress management and mental
health, including through the widely known
Healthy Lifestyle Campaign.
But beyond government and public health
entity involvement, it is imperative that each
and every member of the community has a
clear understanding of mental health to care
for each other.
After all, mental stability should be viewed
as one of the many aspects of health and not
be shrouded in mystery and misdirected
bias.
Taking care of your mind is part of taking
care of yourself just like taking care of your
heart. Mental health helps maintain physical
health and vice versa, says Dr Nurashikin.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

8 healthy heart

Monitor your cholesterol


THOSE with pre-existing diabetes
or cardiovascular conditions or
who are at risk of such conditions
should start monitoring their
blood glucose levels more
diligently.
A persons cardiovascular
health does not depend on blood
glucose levels alone. Metabolic
syndrome is the name for a group
of risk factors that increase the
risk of heart disease and other
health problems such as diabetes
and stroke.
These risk factors include a
large waistline (apple shape),
high blood pressure, high blood
glucose levels and also cholesterol
abnormalities.
The ubiquitous blood glucose
and blood pressure meters may
not be sufficient to cover the risk
factors, especially in the area of
blood cholesterol monitoring.
While a standard laboratory
test is the best option, it may be
inconvenient and expensive to do
it on a regular basis.
The AvoMeter range of meters
launched in 2010 is the only range
of meters available in Malaysia
that provides a fast, economical
and convenient way to monitor
ones total blood cholesterol levels.
The cholesterol-monitoring
function takes only 26 seconds
and comes with the blood glucose
monitoring function.

AvoMeter Vantage Dual


Monitoring System.

The AvoMeter meters allow you


to conveniently monitor your
total blood cholesterol levels.

Its affordable pricing makes


it the best meter to have and use
at home.
A detected high total blood
cholesterol level should prompt

you to look into your compliance


to treatment, diet and exercise
and prompt you to go for a full
laboratory test if it has been some
time since your last check-up.

A detected high
total blood
cholesterol level
should prompt
you to look into
your compliance
to treatment, diet
and exercise.
The new AvoMeter range of
meters comes with these features:
l Auto-coding for glucose
function (non-coding); results in
five seconds
l Glucose strips that are stable
for six months after opening

l Auto-strip recognition for


cholesterol function, which means
you only need to code once with
every new batch of strips. There is
also no need to code again when
switching between glucose and
cholesterol functions.
l Strip ejector button
l Bi-directional memory scroll
In a special promotion, you will
receive a free AvoMeter Vantage
and two Total Cholesterol Strips if
you purchase one box of AvoMeter
Glucose Strips (2x25).
The AvoMeter is the perfect gift
to protect heart health for yourself
and your loved ones.

n For more information, call


03-5629 3688 or e-mail
bchancm@apexpharmacy.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

ALTHOUGH there is greater


understanding of heart health
today, coronary artery disease is
still responsible for the deaths of
thousands of Malaysians annually.
The causes of heart disease
have long been identified, and
90% of them are preventable. In
fact, by reducing the risk of heart
disease, we are also reducing
the risk of developing other
diseases, says Dr Ho Chon Hoo,
cardiothoracic surgeon and
resident consultant at Regency

healthy heart 9

Prevention starts early


Specialist Hospital.
As the central organ in the
human body, the condition of the
heart affects the rest of the body
and vice versa.
Several health conditions have
known links to heart disease,
including diabetes, chronic renal

disease and family


hypercholesterolaemia a
hereditary disorder that causes
a high level of bad cholesterol
(LDL).
The table below highlights some
risk factors of heart disease and
their effect on heart health.

Risk factors

Effect on heart health

High cholesterol level

Accumulation of cholesterol in the arterial wall leads to atherosclerosis (the hardening process of
the artery), which reduces blood flow. A rupture in narrowed arteries can lead to the formation of
blood clots, blocking the entire artery and causing a heart attack.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure damages arterial walls, causing arterial wall thickening and dysfunction. When
it has to pump against higher resistance and pressure, the heart becomes hypertrophic (enlarged).

Obesity

Abdominal obesity and a predominance of visceral fat increase the rate of heart attack and
diabetes at the same time.

Smoking

Smoking constricts blood vessels, thus damaging arterial lining, reducing blood flow to tissues and
finally blocking arteries.

Diabetes

Diabetics not only have two- to four-fold increased risk of heart attack, but also face higher
possibilities of death because of it.

Psychosocial stress

Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, which correlates with increased damage to blood
vessels and arteries.

Men above 45 years old and


women above 55 years old face
higher risks of coronary artery
disease as atherosclerosis develops
gradually throughout ones
lifetime.
However, lifestyle changes have
exposed younger people to heart
disease so it is no longer merely a
concern for ageing adults.
Dr Ho emphasises that there is
no better way to protect our hearts
than to start early. He advises
young adults to build good habits,
including eating a healthy diet that
suits calorie requirements,
exercising at least
30 minutes daily,
and limiting the intake
of red meat and fatty
foods.
Coronary heart
disease is a very real
threat to Malaysians,
as is proven
by the
coronary
artery

bypass surgeries (CABG) performed


every day at the hospital, says
Dr Ho.
With the opening of the Regency
Heart Centre in Johor, Regency
Specialist Hospital strives to
cater to the heart care needs of
Johorians, who no longer have to
travel for hours for specialist heart
treatment.
The Regency Heart Centre
currently comprises two
cardiothoracic surgeons, two
cardiologists and a team of nursing
and allied health professionals.
The Regency Heart Centre
provides 24-hour surgical and
interventional services,
including CABG, mitral valve
repair and replacement as well
as aortic valve replacement for
valvular heart disease, thoracic
surgery, and coronary
angioplasty and stenting.

n For more information,


e-mail info@
regencyspecialist.com

Dr Ho Chon Hoo
says coronary heart
disease is a very real
threat to Malaysians.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

10 healthy heart

Look out
for signs
Besides chest pains, women may experience different heart attack symptoms from men.

WHEN 45-year-old Rohini (not her real


name) first started feeling breathless
and lethargic last year, she did not feel
pressured to take action. However, these
feelings of uneasyness escalated into pain in
the chest, which started extending down her
arm. Taking the advice of a colleague, she
went to see a doctor.
I held the perception that heart attacks
only cause pain in the left side of the chest ,
so I did not suspect anything at first, she
says. However, the doctors found that
Rohinis heart rate was already displaying
fluctuations a cause for concern indicating
a more serious issue.
Several follow-up tests, screenings and an
angiogram later, her condition was
diagnosed.
Rohini has since had to make lifestyle
changes, including quitting smoking and
controlling food intake to maintain a healthy
cholesterol level. She is also on medication
and has to go for check ups every six
months.
However, she is still unsure of her medical
diagnosis specifics, which is worrying. Once
diagnosed, heart disease patients should
know and understand their condition to
better facilitate further action.
One in four women die from heart
disease, and many are now aware that it can
affect men and women alike.
However, it is a lesser known fact that
women experience different heart attack
symptoms from men. Many, like Rohini,
expect a heart attack to cause pain focused
on the chest area and left arm and so miss
the signs of a heart attack.
Even when diagnosed, some may take
their condition lightly. It is not too late to
take care of your heart post diagnosis in
fact, it should call for better care and
concern.
According to the National Heart Institute
(IJN), 50% of women who experience heart
attacks breathe their last breath before even
arriving at the hospital.
While chest pains may be the most
popular symptom of heart attack, the truth
Correctly identify a heart attack with
these signs

Shared symptoms
Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
Weakness
Light-headedness
Nausea
Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
Persistent chest pain or discomfort
Shortness of breath

Symptoms in women
Vomiting
Unexplained fatigue
Indigestion
Stomach pain or abdominal pressure
Pain or discomfort in arms, back, neck or jaw

is women may never experience pain in this


area. Since they suffer different symptoms,
women who experience heart attacks are
often given lower priority than men who
would come in with chest pains at the
hospital.
This scenario indicates that there is
still much to be done when it comes to heart
health awareness, protection and treatment.
Heart disease does not discriminate, nor
is it entirely predictable. Just recently, a
34-year old woman collapsed, went into
cardiac arrest and died during the Montreal
Marathon in Canada after running

about 8km.
Occurences such as these involve
seemingly healthy people in everyday
environments, which showcase the
sometimes quiet severity of heart disease,
especially if it goes undetected.
Therefore, it is important to not only go
for screenings, but also be in the know about
your personal conditions and circumstances.
There are too many anomalies for heart
disease to have a set-in-stone guide or
manual, so the best you can do is be
prepared and knowledgable while making
the best choices for your overall health.

Myths vs facts
AS a health condition under much public
scrutiny, many myths surrounding heart
disease have become half-truths or
misconceptions throughout the years. Here
are some you should know and educate
others about:
Myth: I will know when Im having a
heart attack because I will have chest pain.
Fact: There are various different
symptoms, including pain or discomfort in
the jaw, neck and back, and women may
even have a different experience from
men. Refer to the table on this page to
check out these symptoms.
Myth: Diabetes wont threaten my heart
as long as I take medication.
Fact: The same risk factors that
contribute to diabetes onset, such as high
blood pressure and obesity, increase ones
risk of developing heart disease. Take your
diabetes medication, but also take extra

care of your heart.


Myth: Heart disease runs in my family,
so theres nothing I can do to prevent it.
Fact: While genetic predisposition does
increase ones risk to heart disease, there
are steps you can take to reduce your own
risk. Ultimately, you control your lifestyle
habits and these play a greater role in
determining individual health.
Myth: Heart failure means the heart
stops beating.
Fact: The heart suddenly stops beating
during cardiac arrest, causing the person
to lose consciousness or breathe
abnormally. With heart failure, the heart
does not necessarily stop beating; it does
not work as well but this can go unnoticed
until it causes significant physical changes
such as shortness of breath, swelling of the
feet and persistent coughing.

Talk to your doctor if you


are unsure about certain
aspects of heart health.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

healthy heart 11

Regular check-ups for ideal health


HEART disease coronary artery
disease in particular is the No.1
cause of death in developed and
developing countries in the world.
In the overwhelming majority
of cases, the disease is caused by
atherosclerosis (where the arteries
leading to the heart are narrowed
due to plaque build-up, reducing
the blood supply to the heart).
The main reason for this is
unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles
that lead to metabolic syndrome, a
cluster of conditions including
dyslipidaemia (abnormally high
cholesterol and/ or triglyceride
levels in the blood), hypertension,
obesity and diabetes that are
associated with cardiovascular
disease.
Because of this, coronary artery
bypass grafting surgery is the most
common cardiothoracic procedure
performed in the world, says Dr
Lee Yew Ming, consultant
cardiothoracic surgeon at Mahkota
Medical Centre.
He goes on to explain that this
surgery involves bypassing the
narrowed segment of the arteries
using the internal mammary
artery and/or veins from the leg.
Grafts can be inserted into all three
major arteries of the heart if
necessary and even into their
larger branches.
In doing so, the blood supply to

Dr Lee Yew Ming reveals that


both young and old individuals
with metabolic syndrome can suffer
a heart attack or develop a heart
condition.
Mahkota Medical Centres Heart Centre offers heart screening programmes.

the heart is improved, resulting in


relief to the symptoms of angina
(chest pains caused by heart
disease), improvement of heart
function and even the clinical
survival of the patient.

Everyone is affected
The combination of unhealthy
food that is available 24 hours a
day, sedentary lifestyles, smoking,
lack of sleep and stress has led
to an escalation of metabolic
syndrome and cardiovascular
cases in Malaysia.

Due to changing lifestyles and


the increasing prevalence of
metabolic syndrome, we are seeing
and treating a range of patients
from young to old, male and
female, and even those who seem
healthy on the outside for coronary
heart disease or other thoracic (to
do with the chest) conditions such
as lung cancer, says Dr Lee.
Dr Lee emphasises that it is not
just older or obviously unhealthy
people who can suffer a heart
attack or develop a heart condition;
metabolic syndrome can lead to
accelerated atherosclerosis in

younger people.
The youngest person we have
performed a coronary artery
bypass surgery on is 30 years old,
reveals Dr Lee.

Be in control
The best way to ensure your
heart is healthy is to take control of
your health. This means having a
healthy diet and an active lifestyle,
ceasing smoking and going for
regular medical checkups.
With an appropriate diet and
enough exercise, you can maintain
an ideal body weight, which will go
a long way in keeping not just your

heart healthy but ensuring your


overall well-being too.
A persons ideal body weight can
be determined by measuring the
body mass index (BMI) the
weight-to-height ratio. Your BMI
should generally be less than 25.
Mahkota Medical Centres Heart
Centre offers comprehensive heart
screening programmes.
You can go for a blood check,
electrocardiogram (a test that
checks the electrical activity of the
heart), a stress test (where the
condition of your heart during
physical activity is checked) or a
Multi-Slice CT angiogram (a noninvasive examination where the
level of calcium deposit and hence
atherosclerosis in your arteries and
narrowing of plaques are
measured), among others.
The programmes also include
consultation and advice from a
dietician, who will provide tips and
support to maintain a healthy and
nutritious diet.
Prevention is better than cure.
You have to change your mindset
and stick to a healthy lifestyle
maintain a good body weight, stop
smoking, exercise more and dont
forget to be happy with yourself,
says Dr Lee.

n For more information,


call 06-285 2999.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

12 healthy heart

Strengthening incredible hearts


CARDIOVASCULAR disease is the
leading cause of death not only in
Malaysia, but also worldwide.
Given the prevalence of heart
complications in recent times, the
National Heart Institute (better
known by its Bahasa Malaysia
acronym IJN) has taken it upon
itself to be the custodian of the
nations heart health.
It is in this capacity that IJN is
organising a heart awareness
event called The Incredible Heart
throughout the month of
September, in conjunction with
World Heart Day on Sept 29.
Held from Sept 7 to Oct 7 in the
main lobby of IJNs building in
Kuala Lumpur, the event features
several educational activities and
exhibitions sharing the common
goal of spreading awareness and
spurring action to get Malaysians
more involved in taking care of
their hearts.
We do not want to only be
known for treating heart illnesses
we also want to be a promoter
of heart health, says senior
consultant cardiothoracic surgeon
and chief executive officer of IJN
Datuk Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub.
The Incredible Heart event
recognises the theme set by the
World Heart Federation HeartHealthy Environments.
According to IJN, at least 80%
of premature deaths from
cardiovascular disease and stroke
can be avoided with proper control
of risk factors, which include
unhealthy lifestyle habits such
as tobacco use, harmful use of
alcohol, excessive salt intake and
physical inactivity.
Controlling these risk factors is
essential in creating a hearthealthy environment, but taking
care of your heart is easy once a
right environment is designed.
This is one of the main messages
IJN wants to send through its
World Heart Day initiative, which
was officiated by a speech by
Dr Azhari.

Screening for safety


An essential preventive step in
protecting heart health is attending
regular heart screenings, especially
if you are above 40 years old or
lead a particularly risky lifestyle.
IJN recently upgraded its
facilities and services to make
heart screening more convenient,
comfortable and accessible to the
public through its new Wellness
Centre.
An exhibition booth at The
Incredible Heart aims to spread
word on the importance of
screening and the various packages
available at IJN.
According to Dr Azhari, the
number of people seeking
screening at IJN increases by 15%
to 20% every year. The improved
Wellness Centre is able to
accommodate more people and
provide comprehensive services
in comfortable facilities, within
shorter waiting periods.
We know that people are
getting more aware and concerned
about heart issues, which is why
we are actively promoting our new
wellness centre. Screening is vital

Guests and performers joining in on the officiating of IJNs The Incredible Heart event.

for everyone, even if they may


seem healthy on the outside, he
says.
The Adult Screening booths at
The Incredible Heart event offer
basic screening services, which
include measurements of height
and weight to determine body
mass index (BMI) as well as tests
for blood pressure, cholesterol and
glucose levels to gauge general
health.
The tests are quick and painless,
offering a glimpse into the heart
screening process at IJN.
There is also a Paediatric and
Congenital Heart Centre booth,
which focuses on child heart
health. The screening process for
children is slightly different, as
most heart problems among
children have congenital roots.
Additionally, those with a family
history of heart diseases are
encouraged to get screened as
early as 30 years old as genetic
factors can increase ones risk of
developing cardiovascular disease.
These tests are able to accurately
detect irregularities, which is
the first step before further
investigation and diagnosis.
IJN encourages yearly screenings
as heart disease can occur at any
time, whether to cause abrupt
attacks or gradual decline of
health.
It is important that we pick up
conditions early so that preventive
measures can be taken before they

Tips for a strong heart


Laugh and smile more
Exercise daily
Eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet
Drink plenty of water
Avoid smoking and
consuming alcohol
excessively
Get plenty of sleep

Guests and visitors will be entertained and educated by performances


and exhibitions.

worsen, causing a collapse or heart


attack, says Dr Azhari.

Comprehensive cardiac
care
Some other activities held
throughout The Incredible Heart
event are colouring contests,
quit smoking clinics, as well as
massage, exercise, cooking and
cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR) demonstrations.
These activities teach visitors
various ways they can better care
for their hearts, as IJN advocates
simple measures that have the

power to collectively affect


heart health in a positive way.
There are also several booths
exhibiting the various
departments roles at IJN, including
laboratory services, clinical
research, diabetes clinic,
physiotherapy, emergency and
observation, CPR and NCL (noninvasive cardiac laboratory)
services.
Patients can be admitted
to a ward or opt for outpatient
treatment, which covers
government, non-government
and underprivileged patients.
All these and more come

Exercise demonstrations encourage visitors to get moving in creating heart-healthy environments.

together to provide a
comprehensive, all-encompassing
range of services to care for the
hearts of Malaysians, including
preventive care and post-surgery
procedures.
Our services are for everyone.
You can come to IJN for
consultation without a referral
(if your charges are not subject
to government subsidy) at any
time as our centre is publicly
accessible, says Dr Azhari.
The free screening programmes
encourage visitors from all walks
of life to get themselves checked
as a preventive measure.
For some, such as 35-year-old
Anu Rekha Ratnam, this was their
first time seeking basic health
screening. Although initially only
intending to visit a family member
at IJN, both Anu Rekha and her
husband ended up undergoing the
adult screening to check if they
were healthy.
Supplement sales representative
Carmen Yee shares that events
such as The Incredible Heart play
an important part in raising
awareness on nutrition and
healthcare among members of
the public of all ages.
With such attention and support
from the public, IJN continually
strives to not only care for
Malaysians, but to also educate
them on protecting themselves
in heart-healthy environments.

n For more information, call


03-2600 6421/6423 or e-mail
esp@ijn.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

STATINS, the cholesterol-lowering


pill, have become an essential
item in most medicine cabinets.
However, our desire for a quick
fix usually limits our choices to
statins before considering other
options.
According to the US Food and
Drug Administration, long-term
statin usage can have side effects
on the liver and muscle, so it may
not be a good choice for everyone
concerned about their cholesterol.
Most health experts agree that
high cholesterol can be lowered
naturally with a commitment to
making lifestyle changes,
including eating a heart-healthy
diet, exercising regularly, avoiding
cigarette smoke and maintaining
healthy body weight.
Even if you need to take statins,
following a heart-healthy diet and
good lifestyle approaches may, in
some cases, allow you to take

healthy heart 13

A lifelong commitment
lower doses.
Eating Biogrow Oat BG22 Oat
Bran Powder or Oat BG22 Crispy
Cereal, on the other hand, helps
lower your cholesterol naturally,
making it a part of your hearthealthy eating habits to provide
fibre and oat beta-glucan to
your body.

Consume Biogrow Oat BG22 Oat


Bran Powder or Oat BG22 Crispy
Cereal daily to benefit from the
cholesterol-lowering effect.

Steps to a healthy
lifestyle
l Step 1
Consume foods rich in oat betaglucan over a long period of time
to ensure a consistent supply of at
least 3g of oat beta-glucan daily,
which is the recommended daily
intake for optimal cholesterollowering effects. This can be
achieved with a daily intake of two
scoops (about 18g) of Oat BG22 Oat
Bran Powder or one packet (30g) of
Oat BG22 Crispy Cereal.
Two scoops
of Biogrow
Oat BG22 Oat
Bran Powder
provides the
recommended
daily intake of
3g oat betaglucan.

l Step 2
Continue consuming oat betaglucans as its positive effects on
cholesterol levels are only effective
for as long as it is consumed.
However, ifyour lifestyle returns
to being unhealthy and diet lacks
oat beta-glucans, your cholesterol
levels can rise or fall beyond the

normal range.

l Step 3
Lead a healthy lifestyle. A high
cholesterol level is just one of the
risk factors of coronary heart
diseases. The effects of oat betaglucan on blood cholesterol levels
can be enhanced through a
balanced and varied diet, not
smoking, sufficient exercise and
body weight control.
Oat BG22 Oat Bran Powder is
now available in strawberry and
peach flavours. You can enjoy

exciting fruity flavours with


a tint of sweetness from stevia
extract, suitable for the whole
family and even diabetics.
Two scoops (about 18 g) of
strawberry or peach-flavoured
oat bran powder provide more
than 3g oat beta-glucan for optimal
cholesterol-lowering effect.
This article is brought to you
by Legosan (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

n For more information,


call 03-7956 2220 or
e-mail info@biogrow.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

14 healthy heart

Effective exercise at home

The CyberAir Pro and CyberAir


Compact allow you to keep fit
and work out in the comfort of
your own home.

EXERCISE should be included as


an important component of a
healthy lifestyle.
Activities such as walking,
running, jogging and swimming
are beneficial to increase
metabolic rate, burn excess fat,
reduce weight, improve blood
circulation, enhance mental
acuity and, most importantly,
improve overall health.
One of the most common
mental benefits of exercise is
stress relief, both physically and
mentally. Regular exercise
reduces the amount of stress
hormones in the body, resulting
in a slower heart rate, relaxed
blood vessels and lower blood
pressure.
Exercising not only helps
strengthen your heart, it also
helps to prevent plaque from
building up in your arteries.
Running on a treadmill
generally burns calories faster
than most other forms of
in-home exercises.
Treadmills are good tools to
use when beginning a new
exercise routine as they can be
used for jogging, walking and
interval training.
All aspects of the workout
can be controlled by the user,
including speed, inclination,
warm-up periods, cool-down
periods and energy spent.
However, depending on the
type of activity, exercising can
put a lot of stress on your joints.
Generally, joints hurt more
when muscles and tendons are
stiff because they do not absorb
shock or impact very well.
To help maximise joint
protection during a workout,
Gintell introduces the CyberAir
Compact and CyberAir Pro, the
first motorised treadmills with
joint protection cushioning
system.
Gintell, Asias No.1 fitness
equipment manufacturer, used
the latest innovative technology
to create CyberAir Compact and
CyberAir Pro.
The treadmills incorporate
two of Gintells own built-in
shock absorption technology
called the iCS Intelligent
Cushioning System (iCS) and
AIRflex Cushioning System to
greatly reduce the stress placed
on your feet, legs and joints.
iCS is a hybrid shockabsorption system that offers
the right mix of hardness and
softness at different positions.
Its suspension is designed to
give users different levels of
cushioning at different parts
of the belt to offer the most
comfortable jogging experience.
It also functions to stabilise
the running track to assist
running. The AIRflex cushioning
system offers soft (comparable
to sand), medium (comparable
to grass) and hard (comparable
to tar roads) running surface
and is extremely effective in
absorbing 50% of the running
effect.
Users have the option to
choose the running surface to
suit their body weight for

example, a higher body weight


requires less running assistance
and hence would suit a hard
surface to run on.
This cushioning system
provides the exact amount of
cushioning and support that
your joints require and prevents
the weakening of lower body
muscles.
As a result, you feel optimum
comfort, enjoy your workout
and exercise longer at home.
Your joints may hurt easily if
you run on an uneven or hard
surface. However, with Gintell
CyberAir Compact and CyberAIR
Pro, you no longer have to
worry that your knees get hurt
or strained.
This is because the AIRflex
Cushioning System helps absorb
the impact by up to 55%, thus
putting less stress on your joints
as compared to running on a
hard surface.
Gintell CyberAir Compact and
CyberAIR Pro are built to
support vigorous workouts.
These heavy-duty designed
treadmills are built with a
3.5 digital drive motor to stand
the test of time.
With incline keys feature of
up to 10%, you can experience
walking up a hill in the comfort
of your own home or apply
the 10-speed key for different
speeds.
Advanced features include six
programmes integrated into
the treadmill manual mode,
interval mode, weight loss mode,
golf course mode, HRC 1 mode
and custom 1, which all cater to
individual needs.
The one-touch friendly
console feedback enables you
to easily monitor important
statistics of your workout such
as time, calories burnt, speed,
distance and heart rate.
In addition to having a
powerful digital motor and wide
running surface, the CyberAir
Compact and CyberAir Pro are
equipped with a body fat
measuring programme, where
the machines choose the
appropriate workout
programme to suit your body fat
percentage.
The machines are also capable
of automatically choosing the
right and suitable pre-set
programmes according to your
age, body weight and pulse.
These fitness machines have
two other unique features,
which are the featherlight
feature that allows the
treadmills to be folded vertically,
and the strong absorber feature
that makes declination an ease
without needing to lower it
down.
Another unique feature is the
QuietDrive system that absorbs
sounds from the belt and motor.
Gintell CyberAir Compact and
CyberAir Pro are made in the
United States and meet
international standards of
quality for manufacturers.

n For more information,


call 1800 886 332.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

healthy heart 15

Including Marigold HL Low Fat Milk with Plant Sterols in your daily diet gives you the vital nutrients
to help maintain good health.

Delicious and
nutritious milk
WORLD Heart Day is an annual event that
takes place on Sept 29 every year. It started
in 2000 with the aim of creating global
awareness about the severity of heart
disease and stroke as the worlds leading
causes of death.
Similarly, heart disease is also the leading
cause of death in Malaysia, according to The
Heart Foundation of Malaysia (Yayasan
Jantung Malaysia).
Risk factors for heart disease and stroke
include raised blood pressure, high
cholesterol and glucose levels, smoking,
inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables,
being overweight and physical inactivity.
While many people think of heart disease
as generally a mans problem, women do get
heart disease as well.
Based on data from the Health Ministry,
cardiovascular disease accounts for about
25% of all deaths among women, which is
almost 2.5 times more than that of deaths
due to all cancers combined.
As a woman gets older, it is more likely
she will get a heart disease, especially during
menopause.
Furthermore, given that eating is
something of a national pastime, many
Malaysians are doing themselves harm by
regularly eating too much and exercising
too little.
This year, World Heart Days theme is
about creating heart-healthy environments.
The places in which we live, work and
play should not increase our risk of
cardiovascular diseases.
According to the World Health
Organization and the World Heart
Federation, at least 80% of premature deaths
are a result of a heart disease and stroke that
could have been avoided if the main risk
factors which are tobacco, an unhealthy
diet and physical inactivity were
controlled.
Heart disease and stroke can be prevented
by making healthy changes such as having a
healthy diet, active lifestyle and not smoking.
Eating a healthy diet includes reducing
high intake of saturated and trans fat, sugar
and salt and eating a balanced diet rich in
fruits and vegetables.
As most of us would not completely stop
eating the foods we love, we should try to
reduce the portion of less healthy foods and
increase the portion of healthy foods.
For example, start eating and vegetables
as they contain lots of fibre, vitamins,
minerals and antioxidants.
Another easier way is to include two

Marigold HL Low
Fat Milk with Plant
Sterols contains
plant sterols esters
and only 1% fat.

glasses of Marigold HL Low Fat Milk with


Plant Sterols into your daily diet.
Plant sterols occur naturally in foods
such as nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and
vegetables and work by blocking the bodys
cholesterol absorption.
Marigold HL Low Fat Milk is also low
in fat. It contains only 1% fat to help keep
you healthy, slim and trim as compared
with regular milk that contains 4% fat.
In addition, it is high in calcium to
help keep your bones strong and prevent
osteoporosis as well as high in protein to
build and repair muscles.
It is also low in lactose to suit people with
lactose intolerance and fortified with nine
essential vitamins vitamin A, B1, B3, B6,
B12, C, D, E and folic acid that meet most of
the recommended daily allowance,
providing a host of nutritional benefits.
Therefore, include two glasses of Marigold
HL Low Fat Milk with Plant Sterols as part of
your daily balanced diet (as well as a regular
consumption of fruits and vegetables) plus
exercise to help you maintain your
cholesterol levels at a healthy range.
Two glasses of Marigold HL Low Fat Milk
with Plant Sterols daily provides you with
1.6g of plant sterol esters that help manage
your cholesterol levels.
Marigold HL Low Fat Milk has been
awarded the prestigious Putra Brand Awards
2015 The Peoples Choice in the BeverageDairy category.
This is why Marigold HL Low Fat Milk
is available in four variants with plant
sterols to help lower cholesterol levels as
well as plain, chocolate and strawberry.

n For more information, visit


www.marigold.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

16 healthy heart

Compact goodness
ONE-THIRD of Malaysians are
living with high cholesterol, which
is associated with an increased risk
of cardiovascular disease.
Consuming oat bran is known to
reduce cholesterol levels. However,
many are not aware that to achieve
the desired benefits, one would
need to consume one scoop of oat
bran powder twice daily for 30
consecutive days.
Kordels Malaysia realises that it
is a challenge for Malaysians to
consume oat bran powder twice
daily to achieve the recommended
3g beta-glucan intake due to
reasons such as lack of time and
oats unpleasant taste and texture.
However, with Kordels Active
Oat 35 One A Day, which is
formulated with PromOat BetaGlucan, all that is needed is one
sachet a day to enjoy the full
benefits of oat beta-glucan and its
cholesterol-lowering properties.
PromOat Beta-Glucan is a
concentrated form of soluble fibre
made from 100% non-genetically
modified Swedish oats.
It is developed by Tate & Lyle
from Sweden, a global leader in
wellness innovation that invests
heavily in innovation and research
to develop ingredients that can be
incorporated into great-tasting
foods to help consumers meet their
MANY of us spend long hours in
the office, leading to little or no
work-life balance.
Whether you are busy, cannot
afford a gym membership or just
lazy, there are always ways to get
some exercise done where there
is a will, there is a way.
The biggest problem faced by
most of us is that we lack
motivation to initiate working out.
No doubt, it is a challenge to wake
up early and head to the gym
before work and relax after work
at home.
Here are some tips to get
motivated:
l Set small goals Just like
most things, it is good to start with
baby steps. Give yourself small
tasks such as brisk walking for
a minute and then sprinting for
the next 30 seconds. Gradually
increase the duration. The same
technique can be applied to weight
training.
Once you become fitter, consider
signing up for a marathon or lifting
competition and work towards it.

l Get a new pair of running


shoes and workout clothes New
attire can give you a renewed
sense of confidence and
motivation.
And since you have already
invested a fair amount of money
into getting healthy, it would be a
shame to not at least take a walk
around the park to show off your
new attire.
l Gym buddy It helps to have
a friend with similar fitness levels
to work out with and one you can
be accountable to.
Organise three to four days a
week to work out together. The
good thing is that even if you do
not feel like working out, you

daily nutrition, health and wellness


needs.
Thanks to Tate & Lyles patented
chemical-free and alcohol-free
extraction technology, the oat betaglucan produced is in a pure,
natural, consistent form.

Unique properties
Here are some features of
PromOat Beta-Glucan that make
it different from other oat betaglucan:
l Clean-label ingredient The
extraction method of PromOat
Beta-Glucan from oat bran is
chemical-free.
l Rich in beta-glucan (up to
35%) The level of oat beta-glucan
in PromOat Beta-Glucan is
significantly higher compared to
other oat and oat bran products
as it is produced with minimal
processing.
l Proven cholesterol-lowering
properties PromOat Beta-Glucan
has a high molecular weight
similar to native oat beta-glucan,
which makes it highly viscous,
thereby retaining cholesterollowering properties and other
functional benefits.
l No grittiness PromOat
Beta-Glucan has a smooth texture
as insoluble fibre is removed

during the extraction process.

Proven health benefits


Oat beta-glucan has been tested
by a number of independent
researchers to demonstrate its
physiological health benefits.
PromOat Beta-Glucan forms
a gel quickly and binds to the
cholesterol, which is then excreted
as part of the bodys waste.
It also reduces the reabsorption
of bile acids and increases the
synthesis of new bile acids from
cholesterol, thus reducing the
circulation of bad cholesterol.
Viscous soluble fibres such as
PromOat Beta-Glucan have been
shown to be most effective in
promoting satiety, the feeling of
satisfaction and fullness.
The steady, even release of
energy helps to contain hunger,
reduce the need for snacking
between meals as well as deliver
sustained energy for extended
physical and mental performance.
PromOat Beta-Glucan increases
the viscosity of the meal bolus,
thereby delaying gastric emptying
and helping to reduce fluctuations
in blood sugar levels after meals.
As a soluble fibre, PromOat
Beta-Glucan behaves as a prebiotic,
boosting the growth of intestinal

Kordel Active Oat 35 One A Day comes in convenient sachets.

microflora and improving


gastrointestinal health.
PromOat provides an easy way
to incorporate fibre into other
foods without affecting their
organoleptic properties as the oats
are neutral in taste. Thus, it can be
incorporated into your favourite
beverages, recipes and supplement
products.
One sachet of Kordels Active Oat
35 One A Day is all you need to

enjoy the full benefits of oat betaglucan as it can help you achieve
50% of your daily recommended
dietary fibre intake (20g to 30g).
This article is brought to you by
an in-house pharmacist at Cambert
(M) Sdn Bhd.

n For more information, call 1300


881 712 or 03-5638 3660 or e-mail
ask-kordels@cambert.com.my

Tips to begin
exercising

Start with small goals and keep yourself motivated when exercising to stay healthy.

would feel more motivated to do so


since you have made a
commitment to someone else.

l Publicly announce it Prior


to starting your healthy lifestyle,
write about it on your blog or post
it up on social media.
In a way, this motivates you
to stick to your exercise plan as
people would ask you about it
and you would naturally strive
to maintain your public image.
Another reason people shy
away from exercising is because

of the expensive fees that most


commercial gyms charge. This
should not be an excuse because
you can still get a good workout at
home with just your body weight.
If you are not much of a runner,
doing a body weight circuit

workout builds muscle and


at the same time gives you a
cardiovascular workout.
However, before you start, it is
important to warm up. Warm-ups
can include push ups, running in
place or skipping with a rope. Just
You can
easily work
out at home
with a few
simple
exercises.

do enough to get your heart


pumping and muscles warmed up.
Here is a suggested workout:
10 push ups
20 body weight squats
10 burpees
20 lunges
30 jumping jacks
15-second plank
Do as many repetitions as you
can in 20 minutes and increase
your time if you feel you can do
more. This routine should be done
two to three times a week on
alternate days.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

healthy heart 17

Start with diet


HEART disease remains the No.1 killer
among Malaysians. One of the major
controllable risk factors for coronary heart
disease is high blood cholesterol.
Adopting lifestyle changes and following
a heart-healthy diet can help lower your
cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of
cardiovascular diseases.
It is advisable to cut down on foods with
high content of saturated fats and cholesterol
as well as incorporate fibre-rich foods and a
variety of fruits and vegetables into your
diet.
Oats are rich in beta-glucan and
particularly effective in lowering cholesterol
levels. As stated and approved by the Health
Ministry of Malaysia, US Food and Drug
Administration, European Food Safety
Authority as well as Health Canada, the daily
intake of 3g of beta-glucan from oats and
barley helps to lower blood cholesterol,
particularly LDL cholesterol, which
contributes to coronary heart diseases.
Beta-glucan is a soluble fibre that
transforms into a thick gel during digestion.
It forms a highly viscous solution in the
small intestines and binds digested
cholesterol and fats, thus reducing their
absorption into the bloodstream.
It also binds bile acids and removes
them from the body. The body will in turn
synthesise new bile acids using cholesterol
from the blood stream, eventually reducing
the concentration of cholesterol circulating
in the blood stream.
To obtain 3g of beta-glucan, you need to

consume about three bowls of regular


oatmeal. However, VitaHealth Vita BG35 Plus
comes in serving-specific-sachet packaging,
which is more hygienic and convenient to
make on the go.
Two sachets of VitaHealth Vita BG35 Plus
provides 3g of beta-glucan. It is made from
the best non-genetically modified Swedish
oat bran powder and Canadian hull-less
barley powder containing 35% and 25%
beta-glucan respectively.
Not only does it taste good, it also dissolves
more rapidly in water and forms a smooth
and pleasant texture, making it more
appealing to the tastebuds.
Vita BG35 Plus does more than a regular
oat formula. It is enriched with Aquamin F
and vitamin D, which supply the nutrients to
promote bone and joint health, thereby
reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Aquamin F is derived from red marine
algae that are power-packed with natural
calcium, magnesium and 72 other nutrients.
Two sachets provide the equivalent amount
of calcium as one glass of milk.
Vitamin D ensures better absorption and
the use of calcium and phosphorus.
Kick-start your day with Vita BG35 Plus,
the natural oat product fortified with
nutrients that will help keep your heart
healthy.
This informational article is brought to
you by VitaHealth.

n For more information, call 03-7729 3873.

Essential
fatty acid
DUE to increasing consumer awareness
about the health risks associated with
high-fat and high-cholesterol foods as
well as products with high sugar and salt
content, Opceden is responding to the
rapidly growing demand for pure and highly
concentrated omega-3 supplementation.
To provide an added nutritional
formulation for healthy ageing, Opceden
Omega-3 Fish Oil 500/250 is now available.
Omega-3 marine essential fatty acids have
extensive health benefits. Marine sources of
omega-3 are particularly important because
omega-3 fish oil comprises polyunsaturated,
essential fatty acids that cannot be
synthesised by the human body and must be
obtained from food or supplements.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA
(docosahexaenoic acid) are the two key
essential fatty acids in omega-3.
Studies have shown that EPA and DHA are
important for proper development, including
neuronal, retinal and immune function.
EPA and DHA may affect many aspects
of body function. They have been linked
to promising results in maintaining a

One soft gel of Opceden Omega-3 Fish Oil


500/250 contains 500mg of EPA and 250mg of
DHA to help maintain a healthy body.

healthy body.
Opceden Omega-3 Fish Oil 500/250s fish
oil is molecularly distilled, which means it is
contaminant-free and mercury-free.
Opceden Omega-3 Fish Oil 500/250
provides 75% omega-3 in a 1000mg soft gel
(500mg of EPA and 250mg of DHA).
Eating a sufficient amount of omega-3
fatty acids promotes general health and
well-being.

n For more information, call


03-6156 2836/2936 or e-mail
info@asiahealthcare.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

18 healthy heart

Preventing metabolic syndrome


METABOLIC syndrome is a group
of the most dangerous heart attack
risk factors that occur as a result of
a combination of over-nutrition
and a sedentary lifestyle.
These factors are diabetes and
prediabetes, abdominal obesity,
high cholesterol and high blood
pressure.
If these metabolic abnormalities
occur simultaneously in an
individual, the risk of contracting
heart diseases such as stroke or a
heart attack may significantly
increase.
The World Health Organization
estimates that a quarter of the
worlds adult population has
metabolic syndrome, which is
alarming as these individuals are
twice as likely to die from and
three times as likely to have a heart
attack or stroke compared with
people without the syndrome.
Similarly, people with metabolic
syndrome are five times more
likely to develop Type 2 diabetes
while almost 80% of an estimated
387 million diabetics worldwide
will die of some form of
cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The underlying cause of
metabolic syndrome continues to
intrigue experts, but both insulin
resistance and central obesity
(extra weight around the middle
and upper parts of the body) are
considered to be significant risk
factors.
Metabolic syndrome may be
present if you have three or more
of these signs occurring
simultaneously:
l Blood pressure 130/85mmHg
l Fasting blood sugar (glucose)
100mg/dL
l Large waist circumference
(length around the waist): For
men, 40 inches; for women, 35
inches
l Low high-density lipoprotein
(HDL) or good cholesterol: For
men, 40mg/dL; for women,
50mg/dL
l Triglycerides 150mg/dL
The prevention of metabolic
syndrome should be focused on the
amelioration of its symptoms. Good
dietary management and lifestyle
adjustments are key factors in the
MANY medical organisations and
experts have studied the link
between heart health and sleeping
habits. Results often show that
those who get sufficient and better
sleep have a significantly lower
risk of developing heart disease.
Chicago-based sleep expert
Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, says, Goodquality sleep decreases the work
your heart does, as blood pressure
and heart rate take a drop at night
while you sleep.
However, people who are
sleep-deprived show less
variability in their heart rate,
meaning that instead of fluctuating
normally, the heart rate usually
stays elevated, leading to
heightened stress on your body,
she says.
Dr Zee adds that a lack of sleep
can increase insulin resistance,
heightening the risk for developing
not just heart diseases, but also

Oat endosperm
is the largerst section and middle layer. It
serves as the main energy source of the plant
in the form of carbohydrate and protein.

Oat bran
contains the greatest amount of
beta glucan. It is also a rich source
of B vitamins and nutrients,
including trace minerals.

Oat germ
is the heart and smallest part of the kernel. It
is loaded with nutrients such as B vitamins,
vitamin E, trace minerals and
phytochemicals.

After consumption, beta-glucan

blood

1. travels through the stomach to


the small intestine.

liver

This results in a
reduction of both total 5.
and LDL cholesterol
levels.

This causes the liver to


utilise cholesterol in the
blood (low-density
lipoprotein or LDL
cholesterol or bad
cholesterol) to make new
bile acids.

stomach

Quaker Plus Oats contains oat bran


beta-glucan.

2. In the intestine, it forms a

viscous gel that reduces the


uptake of dietary cholesterol
and interferes with
reabsorption of bile acids.

4.

intestines
out

3.

Cholesterol

This reduces the amount of


bile acids that re-enter the
enterohepatic cycle.

Bile acids
Beta-glucan

Administration (US FDA) and


numerous health authorities
worldwide have approved and
accepted the efficacy of oat bran
beta-glucan in reducing CVD risk
factors:
Lowers cholesterol Oat
bran beta-glucan dissolves inside
the digestive tract and binds
cholesterol-rich bile acids. This
helps reduce the amount of
low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
cholesterol absorbed into the body.

produces short-chain fatty acids,


which maintain satiety by
controlling the release of various
appetite-regulating hormones.
Beta-glucans viscous
characteristics also help with
satiety by causing a distension of
the stomach.
Being sated for longer periods
means a person will eat less,
leading to fat loss and improved
body composition (waist
circumference).

Reduces blood sugar Oat


bran beta-glucan delays the release
of the stomachs contents into the
small intestine for further
digestion.
This contributes to slower
production and release of insulin
by the pancreas and slows down
the rate of glucose uptake from the
small intestine, thus improving
insulin sensitivity.

Improves intestinal health


Oat bran beta-glucan behaves as
a prebiotic. Beneficial bacteria
ferment beta-glucan to produce
volatile fatty acids that are used
by the cells lining the intestine to
protect against various bowel
diseases.
Beta-glucan may also help
promote bowel regularity by
bulking up and softening the stools.

The Malaysian Dietary Guideline


recommends taking four to eight
servings of cereal foods daily for
adults, of which half should
contain wholegrains and cereal
products that are high in fibre and
low in fat, sugar and salt.
The European Food Safety
Authority and the US FDA
recommend consuming 3g of oat
beta-glucan daily to achieve
cholesterol-lowering effects that
can help reduce heart-related
disease by at least 10% to 12%.
A mere weight loss of 5% to 10%
can help restore the bodys ability
to better utilise insulin and greatly
reduce the chances of developing
diabetes. It will also help lower
blood pressure and cholesterol.
Essentially, oat bran beta-glucan,
when consumed with a diet low
in saturated fat and cholesterol
and complemented with regular
physical activity, can help prevent
the onset of metabolic syndrome
components and lower their effects
on individuals who may already be
suffering from this syndrome.

Helps satiety Colonic


fermentation of beta-glucan

Antitumour, antimicrobial
and immune potential Oat bran

n For more information, call


Quaker Care Line at 1800 881 399.

The effect of oat bran beta-glucan on cholesterol levels.

treatment and prevention of


metabolic disorders.
Diets rich in wholegrain foods
have been linked to a lower
prevalence of metabolic syndrome
and are recommended for the
prevention of CVD because they
contain many cardioprotective
compounds, including dietary
fibre, trace minerals,
phytoestrogens and antioxidants.
Wholegrains also help in
maintaining a healthy body weight
and improving the use of insulin.
Oats, a type of wholegrain,
contain a form of soluble dietary
fibre called oat beta-glucan, which
is found most prominently in its
bran. It is beneficial for heart
health and helps slow down the
absorption of sugars from our diet.
Among cereals, oats have one of
the highest content of beta-glucan
at 3g to 8g per 100g dry weight,
which makes it second only to
barley.
The Malaysian Health
Ministry, the US Food and Drug

beta-glucan can stimulate immune


functions by activating monocytes/
macrophages and increasing the
amounts of immunoglobulin, NK
(natural killer) cells and killer
T-cells. These improve ones
resistance to cancer, bacterial
infections and parasitic diseases.

Quality sleep every night


Type 2 diabetes.

Benefits of healthy sleep


On the flipside of the same coin,
a study published in theEuropean
Journal of Preventive Cardiology in
2013 studied four traditional
lifestyle factors (smoking, diet,
exercise and alcohol intake) that
were related to cardiovascular
diseases.
The analysis suggests that
the effect of sufficient sleep on
heart-related deaths could be as
important as not smoking.
If you have trouble falling asleep
or getting deep sleep, try a natural
sleep supplement, such as Rilax Zzz
to help regulate your sleep to wake
up feeling recharged, renewed

and energised. Rilax Zzz can


help you:
l Fall asleep easier and faster
l Sleep right through or wake up
less frequently
l Wake up feeling well-rested
Sherilyn Wong, who uses the
supplement, says: My lifestyle as a
real estate consultant can get very
hectic. I find that Rilax Zzz helps to
calm me down before bedtime.
Although I only have a few hours
of sleep, I am able to wake up
feeling refreshed.
Rilax Zzz contains two main
ingredients:
l Lactium A naturally
occurring peptide found in milk
protein that has relaxing and
calming properties. Lactium

mimics the properties found in


mothers milk, thus inducing the
same state of calm that a baby
enters after a feed.
l Green tea extract Contains
the amino acid L-Theanine. This
caffeine-free extract promotes an
alert state of relaxation.
Taken an hour before bedtime,
Rilax Zzzs all-natural ingredients
work synergistically to promote
deeper, restful sleep by improving
the quality and length of sleep.
Rilax Zzz is suitable for those
who experience difficulty sleeping
due to stress, shift work, travel, jet
lag, ageing or menopause.

n For more information, call 1800


880 488 or visit www.rilaxzzz.com

Sufficient sleep is essential to heart


health.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

CARDIOVASCULAR disease is
the worldsNo.1 killer with
17.3 million deaths per year
and by 2030, the numbers are
expected to increase to 23
million (sourced from www.
world-heart-federation.org).
You can lower the risks by
quitting smoking, eating
healthily and doing regular
physical activities.
One of the easiest physical
activities to do is a brisk walk for
30 minutes a day, three times or
more per week.
It is the most popular choice,
whether you choose to do it
outdoors or on a treadmill,
because anybody can do it on
any given day without requiring
special skills.
With the latest NordicTrack C2
treadmill, you can now exercise
at the comfort and convenience
of your own home to maintain a
healthier heart.
Additional features of the C2
treadmill are:
l 20 preset workout
programmes
Conduct the training you want
with built-in workouts designed
by a certified personal trainer to
help you achieve your fitness
goals. Choose from calorie-burn,
intensity, incline and speed
workouts.

l 20-inch x 55-inch running


space
The C2 treadmill features a
20-inch by 55-inch tread belt
designed to reduce noise and
friction for a longer-lasting
workout. It is stretch resistant
and engineered to stay centred
on the deck.
l 0kph to 20kph digital quick
speed control
Whether you choose to walk,
jog or run, this treadmill
accommodates every workout
with speeds up to 20kph. You can
adjust your speed at the touch of

The NordicTrack
C2 treadmill.

healthy heart 19

On the right track

You can fold up


your treadmill for
convenient cleaning
and storage.

a button.

l 0% to 10% digital quick


incline
At the touch of a button, you
can quickly adjust your incline
by up to 10%. Higher inclines
reduce the impact on your joints
and add variety to your workout.
Plus, you will target the
muscles around your hips, quads
and glutes.
l Spacesaver design with
Easylift assist
Fold your treadmill up and
out of the way for convenient
cleaning and storage. A hydraulic
dampening spring does the
heavy lifting for you, so you can
easily fold your treadmill when
the need arises.
l FlexSelect cushioning
Get the best of both worlds
from adjustable treadmill
cushioning. There are two
options to pick from one offers
superior impact reduction with
cushioning isolators on each side
of the deck, and the other offers
a surface that feels like a real
road to give you an outdoor run
feel.

l iFit compatible
The revolutionary interactive
training programme iFit
technology helps you get more
out of each workout. Track your
progress, replicate real-life runs
with Google Maps, train with
Jillian Michaels programme and
customise your workouts to
specific goals with the iFit
programme.
(This feature requires the iFit
wireless module that is sold
separately.)

The NordicTrack C2 treadmill offers many features to assist you in your workouts.

The NordicTrack C2 treadmill is


now available exclusively at all
Fitness Concept outlets nationwide.
Fitness Concept is Malaysias
largest fitness specialist chain as
certified by the Malaysia Book of
Records with 45 outlets in leading
shopping malls nationwide.
In conjunction with its Thank You

promotion, Fitness Concept is


offering attractive bundle packages
and many great offers for its
treadmills, cross-trainers, exercise
bikes and gym stations.
Buyers of the NordicTrack C2
treadmill are offered a bundle with
additional one-year warranty and
accessories worth RM448.

Drop by a store today to check out


the range of fitness products that
will help keep you and your family
fit and healthy.

n For more information, call


03-8026 2222 or e-mail enquiries@
fitnessconcept.com.my or visit
www.fitnessconcept.com.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

20 healthy heart

Fibre for a fit heart


THE Health Ministry reports that
Malaysians as young as 18 are
prone to hypertension. Working
adults, meanwhile, are at risk of
being disabled or dying due to
cardiovascular diseases.
According to Joint British
Societies consensus
recommendations for the
prevention of cardiovascular
disease (JBS3), development of
atherosclerotic lesions often
begins around the age of 10.
The INTERHEART study
published in Circulation in 2008
shows that nine out of 10 of the
highest risk factors for heart
disease are preventable by
changing diets and lifestyles.
JBS3 recommends individuals
who are at risk to exercise, quit
smoking or avoid exposure to
second-hand cigarette smoke and
to maintain a diet high in fibre to
keep their heart fit and young.

The National Health and


Morbidity Survey 2011 found that
93% of Malaysians lack fibre in
their diet while more than half of
the population are obese.

The role of pectin


and lignin
Pectin and lignin fibre help to
prevent cholesterol plaques from
hardening the arteries.
They help reduce blood
cholesterol levels by absorbing
bile acids, which are made from
cholesterol.
The absorption of bile acids
forces the body to produce more
bile acids, causing cholesterol
levels to decrease.
Interestingly, lignin absorbs
more bile acids when its food
source is baked or steamed as
compared to being eaten raw.
Food sources containing lignin

are raspberries, strawberries,


carrots, red beetroots and tomatoes.
Pectin, a prebiotic found in
lemon and berries, minimises
lymphatic cholesterol absorption,
lowers blood triglycerides and
low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
cholesterol when combined with
moderate intake of dietary
cholesterol.

Reducing the
cardiovascular marker
The level of C-reactive protein
(CRP) in the body is another
indicator for cardiovascular
diseases and a high concentration
of CRP in your blood increases the
risk of coronary heart diseases.
Exercising and eating healthy
meals rich in varieties of fibre
have been proven to decrease
CRP concentrations in blood.
Not only that, fibre helps to

Pectin and lignin, which are found in carrots, red beetroots and
tomatoes, help to prevent build-up of cholesterol plaque.

delay gastric emptying and


produce a sense of fullness,
thus making it easier for you to
resist snacking and maintain a
healthy weight.
This prevents obesity, which is
often associated with premature
cardiovascular diseases.

Healthy barley
beta-glucan juice
JoyAmaze Hartwll contains

pectin and other types of


beneficial fibres from nine fruits
and vegetables and is also rich in
barley beta-glucan.
It can be prepared as a
variety of beverages.
It can also be used as an
ingredient in meals; it will not
lose its health benefits when
used in cooking and baking.

n For more information about


JoyAmaze, call 1300 881 268.

Exercising and eating


healthy help to keep
coronary heart
diseases at bay.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

healthy heart 21

Lower
cholesterol
effectively
GLOBALLY, cardiovascular
disease is the leading cause of
morbidity and mortality, yet
about 80% of heart diseases
and stroke can be prevented by
positive lifestyle changes such
as having a healthy diet,
exercise and abstinence from
smoking.
High cholesterol is one of the
major risk factors leading to
heart diseases, heart attacks or
strokes.
According to international
guidelines, dietary intervention
is the cornerstone of therapy
for dyslipidaemia, a condition
characterised by an abnormal
amount of lipids (such as
cholesterol and/or fat) in the
blood.
A healthy diet also plays
an important role when
cholesterol medication has
already been initiated since it
has other beneficial effects
beyond influencing lipid
concentrations.
International organisations
such as American Heart
Association, World Heart
Federation, British Heart
Foundation and Australian
Heart Foundation recommend
the consumption of foods
containing plant sterol as part
of a cholesterol-lowering diet.

Benefits of plant
sterols
Plant sterols are found
naturally in everyday foods
such as vegetable oils, nuts,
seeds, grain products, fruit
and vegetables.
The average daily intake of
plant sterols from regular foods
is about 0.3g per day. The
optimal intake of plant sterols
required for significant
cholesterol-lowering effect is
2g per day.
To reach the recommended
intake, large quantities of the
right regular foods would need
to be consumed.
The key benefit of plant
sterols lies in their ability to
reduce the absorption of both
dietary and endogenous such
as cholesterol produced in the
liver sources of cholesterol in
the blood.
Consuming 2g of plant sterols
a day reduces the absorption of
cholesterol by 30% to 40%. The
unabsorbed cholesterol passes
through the digestive system
and is excreted.
As a result, total blood
cholesterol and LDL
(low-density lipoprotein)
or bad cholesterol level in the

body decreases, while HDL


(high-density lipoprotein)
or good cholesterol level is not
affected.
A clinical study published in
Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2003
showed that an intake of 1g to
3g plant sterols per day can
substantially and consistently
lower total blood cholesterol
levels by 6% to 10% and LDL
cholesterol by 8% to 15%.

Cholesterol-lowering
drink
Vitamode ReduSterol is a
heart-healthy drink containing
plant sterols derived from
vegetables that have been
proven to effectively lower
blood cholesterol levels.
Unlike bland-tasting oatmeal
or oat bran powder, Vitamode
ReduSterol gives you a
refreshingly delicious and
authentic taste that you can
enjoy daily.
This new drink comes
in single-serve sachets that
offer convenience and easy
preparation, ideal for
individuals who are constantly
on the move.
Vitamode ReduSterol does
not contain preservatives or
artificial colourings. It is also
suitable for vegetarians and
those intolerant to lactose.
This all-natural drink can be
enjoyed hot or cold, depending
on the preference of different
individuals.
The US Food and Drug
Administration has issued an
approved health claim for plant
sterol: foods containing at least
0.4g of plant sterols per serving,
eaten twice daily as part of a
diet low in saturated fat and
cholesterol, may reduce the risk
of heart diseases.
A serving (one sachet) of
Vitamode ReduSterol provides
1g of plant sterols.
Vitamode ReduSterol offers
a safe and drug-free way to
reduce cholesterol. Just one to
two sachets daily can reduce
LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.
Vitamode ReduSterol is
suitable for those with high
cholesterol levels and heart
health concerns.
It is available at selected
clinics, hospitals and
pharmacies in Malaysia.
This article is brought to you
by Medispec (M) Sdn Bhd.

n For more information,


call 1300 800 228 or visit
www.medispec.com.my

Vitamode ReduSterol drink


contains plant sterols to help lower
blood cholesterol levels.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

22 healthy heart

Staying healthy
while flying
DEPENDING on medical conditions
and specific cases, certain
individuals are advised not to
fly long distances so as not to
jeopardise their health.
At the same time, there are a
number of individuals who may be
wary about flying as they are afraid
of putting their lives at risk.
The thought of encountering a
medical emergency 40,000 feet
(12,192m) in the air is enough to put
some people off flying entirely.
In most circumstances, however,
it is usually all right to board a longdistance flight once you receive the
approval of your doctor, obtain the
required medication and take the
necessary precautions during the
flight.

Allergies and asthma


Peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs,

wheat, soy, fish and shellfish are


common causes of food allergies
affecting people around the world,
including Malaysians.
If you are aware of being allergic
to any kind of food, it is best to check
the ingredients of your in-flight
meals with your flight attendant.
Failure to alert your flight
attendant and consuming allergens
can cause symptoms such as itching,
sneezing, hives and rashes or even
the potentially fatal reaction of
anaphylactic shock.
If you have an epinephrine autoinjector or EpiPen, it is crucial that
you carry it in your carry-on luggage
along with a prescription or letter
from your physician just in case you
have a severe allergic reaction.
Due to the reduced oxygen levels
at high altitudes, asthmatics should
also bring their inhalers on board
their flights.

All medication that you bring with


you must be in their original
packaging with a prescription label
stating your name, the name of the
drug and the contact details of your
pharmacy or doctor.

Pre- and post-surgery


The medical tourism industry
is rapidly growing especially within
South-East Asia. Many international
patients are flying between
countries to undergo various forms
of surgery and treatment followed
by a lengthy holiday to recuperate.
However, there are health risks
involved when individuals travel
immediately before or after surgery.
Patients who are flying long
distances for surgery must take the
necessary precautions to reduce the
risk of developing deep vein
thrombosis (DVT).

If you have a medical condition, take the necessary precautions


before you travel.

This is the formation of blood


clots in your veins and may be
deadly if they travel to the lungs
and cause a pulmonary
embolism, where one or more
arteries in the lungs are blocked.
Sitting for long hours, wearing
tight clothing or not hydrating
adequately during a flight
increases the likelihood of
developing DVT, which can also
cause chronic swelling and
ulceration.
During an orthopaedic
surgery, the cutting of bones
prompts the body to increase the
effectiveness of its clotting
system. This, in turn, increases
the probability of complications
for patients undergoing hip and
knee replacements.
After surgery, the bodys
natural protective blood-clotting
mechanism is also more reactive
than usual and this is why health
practitioners advise patients to
avoid air travel from two days to
up to six weeks after surgery,
depending on the scale of the
surgery.

Blood pressure and


heart disease
When flying at high altitudes,
the thin and dry air in the plane
can affect patients with high or
low blood pressure.
Individuals with high blood
pressure or hypertension may
experience hypoxia, a condition
where blood rushes through the
body without enough oxygen
supply to all body parts.
They may also encounter
difficulty breathing, swelling and
bloating as the body retains
fluids in the limbs, torso and
face.
Travellers must drink plenty
of water during a flight as
dehydration can cause a person
with hypotension (low blood
pressure) to have even lower
blood pressure, causing
symptoms such as dizziness,
fainting, chest pain, blurred
vision, unusual heart rate and

If you suffer from


asthma, be sure to
carry your inhaler
onboard the aircraft.

Things to do before a flight


Take a medical examination
and seek a doctors advice.
Bring enough of the
necessary medication to last
the entire trip.
Ensure that medication in
your hand-carry luggage is in
its original packaging complete
with prescription or doctors
letter.
Notify the airline should
you require special meals due
to your condition.
Things to do during a flight
Reduce the chances of
developing deep vein
thrombosis by wearing loose
clothing and compression socks
as well as standing and taking
a walk in the plane every two
hours.
Drink plenty of water and
stay hydrated throughout the
flight.
Reduce the possibility of
dehydration by abstaining from
alcohol and salty snacks.
Check with the flight
attendant regarding the
ingredients of your in-flight
meals.
the inability to concentrate.
It is vital for patients with high
or low blood pressure and those
living with heart diseases to
consult their doctor for advice
prior to the journey.

Insulin dependency
and daily medication
Diabetics and those with low
glucose levels who require
insulin shots do not need to skip
their daily dose of medication.
There should not be any
problems in bringing your
medication, including syringes,
in your carry-on luggage if you
notify security personnel about
your medical supplies and
possess the appropriate
paperwork.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

healthy heart 23

Make
the switch
BROWN rice is a natural grain
that is gluten, sugar and
cholesterol free.
The hull is still intact on the
grain, which includes the bran
and germ that store plenty of
nutrients such as protein,
natural fibre, calcium,
potassium, vitamin B complex,
plant-based fats and many
other vitamins and minerals.
As a result, brown rice is
recognised as wholesome
rice, providing you with a
comprehensive diet.
Brown rice contains three
important parts that provide
the following benefits:
l Rice bran Contains high
amounts of soluble dietary fibre,
vitamin B complex, protein,
polyunsaturated lipids, and
minerals such as iron, calcium,
magnesium and chromium that
make brown rice superior in
nutritional value to polished
white rice.
It also has phytonutrients
such as inositol and oryzanol
that keep the cholesterol level in
the body in check.
l Endosperm Provides
energy from its high
carbohydrate contents (>75%)
to meet the bodys daily
requirement.
l Embryo (germ) Contains
similar vitamins, lipids, minerals
and phytonutrients as rice bran.
In addition, it has zinc that is
important for the reproductive
system and vitamin E
(tocopherol) that can prevent
stroke and heart diseases.
Serba Wangi Sdn Bhd first
launched ecoBrowns rice in
2004.
Its rice is 100% vacuum
treated and sealed in various
retail packaging sizes 500g,
1kg, 2kg and 5kg.
ecoBrowns rice is produced
entirely from freshly harvested
and fully ripened paddy within
the major granary regions
of Malaysia.

It is the first brown rice in the


country to receive the Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control
Point certification for food
safety for its entire processing
line in 2008.
This certification has
further endorsed the brands
quality assurance among the
increasingly health-conscious
consumers in Malaysia.
Across the causeway,
ecoBrowns is the only
Malaysian brand of brown rice
ecoBrowns rice is suitable for health-conscious consumers in Malaysia.
that has successfully made an
inroad into Singapores retail
market, being available in most
major supermarkets and
hypermarkets. It is recognised as
health rice under the Singapore
Health Promotion Board
Program.
New Zealand is another major
overseas market for ecoBrowns
rice since 2009, where
acceptance levels are steadily
growing despite facing stiff
competition from Australias
Sunrice group.
ecoBrowns has since
introduced another type of
unpolished rice called
ecoBrowns Gold, which is a
combination of brown rice, red
rice and black rice.
The brand has also launched
a range of instant wholegrain
brown rice cereal and beverages
packed in sachets. Besides the
original flavour, the beverage is
available in chocolate flavour
for children and a no-sugar
option for the elderly.
With the sachets, consumers
can now choose to have a
healthy meal outside their home
at their own convenience,
anytime and anywhere.
Another brown rice-based
product under ecoBrowns
pipeline is the Premiere Brown
Rice Vermicelli, a gluten- and
cholesterol-free vermicelli made
from the best-quality brown
rice.
It is machine-made with no
preservatives added and comes
in handy 300g packs.
Each pack contains
three crusts of
vermicelli weighing
100g each.
ecoBrowns is one of
the sponsoring
partners for Nutrition
Month Malaysia 2015, an
initiative organised by
the Nutrition Society of
Malaysia to promote a
healthy lifestyle.

n For more information,


call 1800 88 RICE (7423)
or visit www.ecobrowns.
com

ecoBrowns Premiere
Brown Rice Vermicelli.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015

24 healthy heart

Next-generation omega-3
OMEGA-3 fatty acids are essential
nutrients for good health because
they assist in basic cell functioning,
cell repair and growth, and other
body functions.
However, omega-3 fatty acids
cannot be produced in the human
body and must be obtained
through food or supplements. To
keep your heart healthy,
nutrition experts have been
recommending krill a new
generation of omega-3
source.
Krill oil is a relatively
new but highly promising
discovery in the field of
health supplements. It is
extracted from tiny, shrimplike crustaceans that live in
the ocean and feed on
microscopic algae.
Krill occupy one of the lowest
levels of the marine food chain
but, despite their small size, serve
as a food source for a variety of
Antarctic marine life, including
whales, seals and penguins.
Krill oil is rich in omega-3 fatty
acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Krill oil omega-3 is thought to
assimilate into the bodys cells
better than other sources of

liver for cellular absorption.


Phospholipids are the bond
found in krill oil that ensures a
more efficient delivery of key fatty
acids to various parts of the human
body such as the brain, heart and
joints.
This is due to the increased
absorption of omega-3
phospholipids in the small
intestine.

Antioxidant properties

Krill oil omega-3 is attached to the phospholipids EPA and DHA that are
better assimilated into the bodys cells.

omega-3 because it is attached to


the phospholipids EPA and DHA,
which are more bio-efficient than
other marine oils.
Our cell membranes are
composed of omega-3 fatty acids
and phospholipids, meaning krills
fatty acids are readily absorbed
and diffused throughout the cell.
Omega-3 fatty acids with

phospholipids are perfect


interlocking keys to opening cell
membrane doors, allowing more
EPA and DHA to enter in a shorter
time.
As fish oils contain omega-3
triglycerides instead of
phospholipids, they must be
converted to phospholipids by the
body to be easily absorbed by the

Due to the algae in the krills


diet, krill oil is also a source of the
powerful antioxidant astaxanthin,
which is beneficial in protecting
the body from free radicals.
Antioxidants protect your cells
from damage by free radicals. Free
radicals are formed when your
body oxidises the air that you
breathe, breaks down foods or
encounters environmental hazards
such as smoke and radiation.
Typically, antioxidants fight
only one free radical at a time, but
astaxanthin may be able to
handle multiple free radicals
simultaneously.
Krill oil is sourced from the
pristine waters of the Southern
Ocean in Antarctica, harvested
from the species of krill called

Euphausia superba.
Antarctic krill are so low in the
food chain and live in the cleanest
waters on earth that they are
virtually free of contaminants.
Astaxanthin, an antioxidant
inherent to krill oil, naturally
preserves their omega-3 fatty acid
content.
Supplementation with krill
oil is generally well tolerated
and safe when taken as per the
recommended dosage.
Krill oil supplementation assists
in:
l Supporting healthy functioning
of the bodys processes
l Improving quality of life
l Providing antioxidant properties
l Helping to keep cells healthy
While krill oil may offer health
benefits, you should not take krill
oil if you are allergic to shellfish or
on blood-thinning medications.
Check with your doctor before
taking any supplements, including
krill oil.
This article is brought to you by
Vitamode.

n For more information,


call 1300 800 228.