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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A medical doctor has asked everyone, especially the younger ones, to take good care of their heart.

The advice came after the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) and the Philippine Hearts Institute (PHI)-Davao raised concern over the increasing number of young patients with cardiovascular diseases which they said is due to smoking, alcoholism, poor eating habits, unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, lack of sleep, and exposure to carcinogens. 

“What is alarming is that (years ago) I can only see most of (the heart disease) cases (come from) above age 50s. but now they are getting younger,” said Dr. Elfred Batalla, head of PHI- Davao and SPMC’s cardio consultant, during this week’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao.

Since the establishment of PHI-Davao in 2007, Batalla said “there is an exponential” number of patients lining up to avail treatment. Recent statistics showed patients “as young as 30 years old or much younger” who experienced heart attack.  

However, exact figures were not presented during the press conference as Batalla said they still need to finalize the data.

Batalla attributed the rise of cardiovascular diseases among the youth to lesser physical activities due to their excessive use of gadgets and some falling over substance abuse or illegal drug habits. Another factor is the lack of “quality sleep”, which he said is a poor and unhealthy practice among the younger generation that leads to heart problems. 

While a lot of the risk factors for contracting heart disease are genetic in nature, Batalla highlighted that a healthy lifestyle and good habits are critical in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

“The solution to this problem is not just from the doctors but from everyone because prevention is always better than cure,” he said.

In 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that cardiovascular diseases or commonly known as heart problems are part of the larger group of non-communicable diseases which account for 72% of deaths in the country in 2021.

According to PSA data dated February 22, 2022, 17.9% or 125,913 of the total deaths during the said period died of ischemic heart disease followed by cerebrovascular disease such as stroke (68,180 deaths or 9.7 percent). (

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