Love for hearts on Valentine’s Day and beyond

Michael Bueza
Love for hearts on Valentine’s Day and beyond
Here are 4 reasons why the symbol of love should also get some lovin'

MANILA, Philippines – There is no shortage of love in the Philippines.

A global Gallup poll released in 2013 showed that 93% of Filipinos reported feeling love, more than anybody else in 136 countries surveyed, in response to the question, “Did you experience love for a lot of the day yesterday?”

Valentine’s Day, February 14, will surely be filled with various forms and expressions of love. But we should also care for the very symbol of it: the heart.

Here are some reasons why your blood-pumping organ should also get some lovin’ on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

February is Philippine Heart Month

By virtue of Proclamation No. 1096, signed in 1973 under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, the month of February of every year is declared as “Philippine Heart Month.”

The government has the task of “effecting the highest possible degree of health care among our people through intensive encouragement of research, experimentation, and study of the human heart and its affliction, as well as community involvement in the task of nation-building for a healthier citizenry by extensive mass continuing education.”

Meanwhile, World Heart Day is celebrated every September 29, and is organized by the World Heart Federation (WHF). For 2015, the WHF would promote the creation of heart-healthy environments at home and at workplaces.

Heart disease leading cause of deaths in PH, world

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a third of deaths in the Philippines is caused by cardiovascular diseases. In addition, among Filipino adults, 22.6% are at risk of raised blood pressure, with men more at risk (25%) than women (20.4%).

Meanwhile, cardiovascular diseases have killed 17.5 million people worldwide in 2012, or 3 in every 10 deaths. (RELATED: Understanding coronary artery disease)

Heart attacks and stroke are among the noncommunicable diseases (NCD), which account for 68% of all global deaths in 2012. Most of the deaths caused by NCD occur in low- and middle-income countries, said the WHO. The other main types of NCDs are cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases.

The WHO added that tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol are the most important behavioral factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as other NCDs.

‘Broken heart syndrome’

Many have gone through heartbreaks, but a few have literally come close to dying from a broken heart.

Stress cardiomyopathy – also called the “broken heart syndrome” or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, after a pot used in Japan for catching octopuses – can be triggered by intense grief or emotional distress, physical trauma, or even a good-natured surprise or shock. It is similar to a heart attack, but is not due to typical factors like blocked arteries.

The British Heart Foundation describes stress cardiomyopathy as “a temporary condition where your heart muscle becomes suddenly weakened or ‘stunned’.” The heart’s left ventricle then takes on a shape resembling a takotsubo.

Excessive release of adrenaline to the heart in response to a highly stressful event is seen as one of the main causes of this heart condition.

However, stress cardiomyopathy is uncommon, and affects mostly post-menopausal women. Fatalities are also rare to occasional, as many patients recover quickly without major damage to the heart, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Nevertheless, doctors advise that you immediately get medical assistance if you feel chest pains or shortness of breath, so that your condition, be it a heart attack or a “broken heart syndrome,” could be properly determined and treated.

Philippine Heart Center

Need a check-up or a heart surgery? Head on to the country’s premier cardiac facility.

The Philippine Heart Center was inaugurated aptly enough on Valentine’s Day 1975. Located along East Avenue in Quezon City, the 354-bed hospital provides “comprehensive cardiovascular care enhanced by education and research that is accessible to all.”

Each floor of the PHC building, designed by architect Jorge Ramos, resembles 4 “petals” representing the 4 chambers of the heart.

Now on its 40th year, the PHC has become one of the busiest congenital heart surgery centers in Asia, according to the website of the Quezon City government. –

Collage of hearts from Shutterstock

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.