Mediterranean diet and daily exercise help reduce heart disease by up to 30 per cent

CARDIOVASCULAR diseases are the leading cause of death, with more than 120,000 annually in Spain.

The most common problems are arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation, ischemic heart diseases, such as myocardial infarction and angina pectoris, and cerebral vascular diseases.

Experts say cases could be reduced by up to 30 per cent by following a Mediterranean diet and a daily exercise routine.

Dr Catheline Lauwers advises that patients can take control of their own health.

Dr Lauwers said: “The fundamental origin of cardiovascular disease, is found in atherosclerosis, a condition whose cause is found in the obstruction of the arteries. It is caused by cholesterol deposits, in addition to other factors such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stress and genetic inheritance. The control we can exert over these factors in order to reduce the likelihood of suffering from cardiovascular disease, depends on us.”

Symptoms will depend on the type of cardiovascular disease suffered and the patient´s gender.

In the case of acute myocardial infarction, men usually feel pain in the centre of the chest, spreading to the arms and accompanied by sweating and nausea.

In women the pain can be less intense and does not usually spread to the left arm but is commonly accompanied by breathing difficulty, which often results in a delay in diagnosis and its treatment.

Across different centres, Quirónsalud offers the most advanced techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

These include a home cardiac monitoring service for patients with device implants such as pacemakers or defibrillators.

Dr Luís González, head of the Cardiology Unit of the centre, said: “Thanks to this pioneering technology in Alicante’s private health, we can monitor our patients twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year and guarantee their safety.”

Home monitoring involves real-time transmission of data from the pacemaker or defibrillator implanted in the patient to the specialist’s consultation by means of a monitor that the patient has at home.

He added: “Thanks to this exhaustive follow-up, we can act immediately before any alteration of the heart rhythm occurs and offer an early treatment to the patient, which is so important in these cases.”

Currently, monitoring includes pacemakers, implantable defibrillators (ICDs), subcutaneous holter and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices (CRT). It’s an easy-to-use digital technology that opens a new communication channel between patients and specialists.

In cases of acute myocardial infarction, Quirónsalud Valencia offers the infarction code. Once the patients are diagnosed, they immediately undergo radial catheterization through the arm under local anesthesia.

Dr Lauwers, who works from Quirónsalud Valencia, said “This technique enables us to directly visualize the arteries of the heart by means of a contrast injection and under X-ray control. In this way we diagnose the clogged artery and immediately proceed to open it and subsequently insert a spring called stent, thus restoring the blood flow immediately, saving the patient’s life and having excellent long-term results.”

In the line of minimally invasive procedures for cardiac ailments, the Quirónsalud Torrevieja Hospital is a reference in the application of the TAVI technique for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis in patients who cannot have surgery.

As explained by Dr Rafael Florenciano, specialist at the Comprehensive Cardiology Unit of the Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja: “The implantation of the pro-catheter aortic valve, or TAVI, is a solution that does not require surgery.

“It consists in replacing the damaged aortic valve with a new one without having to perform open surgery.

“The method employed is puncturing the femoral artery to place the valve, in a procedure very similar to that used in catheterization for implanting coronary stents, but carrying out this procedure requires a great deal of experience due to its high complexity”.

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