(Screengrab from PTV)

MANILA – Smoking increases a person’s risk of having coronary heart disease and sudden death, health experts said Friday.

“Smoking associated with two to four-fold increase in the risk of coronary heart disease, a greater than 70 percent excess rate of death from coronary heart disease and an elevated risk of sudden death,” Department of Health Disease Prevention and Control Bureau lead Dr. Maria Rosario Sylvia Uy said in a media forum.

The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death among Filipinos as of Oct. 31, 2022. It is followed by cerebrovascular diseases, neoplasms, diabetes, and hypertensive diseases in the top five list of mortality causes in the country.

In the same forum, Philippine Heart Association Communications Committee co-chair Dr. Luigi Pierre Segundo noted that ischemic heart disease is known as coronary artery disease.

“Our hearts have arteries on top of it called coronary artery, when it tightens due to cholesterol buildup, hardening of artery, blood cannot flow properly, particularly oxygen. The lack of oxygen in the heart muscles is also called ischemic heart disease,” he said.

Its symptom is called angina or pain and heaviness in the left chest which may radiate to the left arm, back or jaw due to physical exertion lasting for 10 minutes, he added.

Uy explained that smoking changes a person’s body chemistry which leads to formation of plaque in the nerves resulting in arteriosclerosis.

Arteriosclerosis then leads to the blocking of blood flow -- a major cause of heart attack or stroke, she said.

Pwede kayong magkaroon ng sudden death from smoking, so, kung mayroon pa siyang kasamang hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes, lahat sila may synergistic effect, nagkakampi-kampihan sila, lalo kang magiging prone sa pag-develop ng heart attack (You can have sudden death from smoking, so, if you have hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes, they all have synergistic effect which makes you more prone to developing heart attack),” she said.

Segundo urged the smoking public to quit the habit by exercising the urge to smoke away or keeping oneself busy with productive activities. (PNA)