Every woman’s heart

For she who loves knows there’s hope

By Dr. Lauren Kay Evangelista
Heart Failure Specialist, Asian Cardiovascular Institute
Asian Hospital and Medical Center

I am a woman. I know what we are capable of. But it still amazes me every time I realize how loving, caring, and strong we can be. And there are instances when all these qualities can manifest simultaneously. Imagine the extent of patience, mindfulness, and control required.

For she who always stays strong, no matter the difficulty, needs a strong heart.

While we are tough and resilient, we need our hearts to be strong not only figuratively, but also literally. A physically strong, healthy heart allows us to live longer and become even more amazing women. It provides us with more opportunities to continue sharing love, extending care, and being present for the people who matter. But we can only assess the health of our hearts through science, which requires undergoing a medical examination.


For heart consultations, it is recommended to visit a cardiologist. The usual initial steps a cardiologist will conduct include a physical examination and a general screening profile. Tests such as an Electrocardiogram (ECG), which records the electrical activity of the heart to determine if it is beating correctly, a Treadmill Exercise Test, which evaluates how well the heart responds to physical exertion, and a 2 Dimensional Echocardiogram (2D Echo), which provides a real-time view of the heart’s motion and structure, may be necessary.

Depending on age, symptoms, or the results of earlier evaluations, additional tests such as 24-hour Holter monitoring, which monitors the heart’s activities for an entire day to detect abnormalities, carotid duplex scan, which visualizes blood flow through the carotid arteries in the neck, transcranial duplex scan to assess blood flow in the brain, or an ankle brachial index (ABI) and Arterial Duplex scan to check for narrowed arteries, as well as a Venous duplex scan to detect venous insufficiency that may reduce blood flow, may be required.

If our hearts are physically weak and not conditioned – i.e. unhealthy – the risk of a heart attack increases. Also known as a myocardial infarction, it occurs when a part of the heart’s muscle does not receive sufficient blood. Typical symptoms include pain or discomfort (pressure, squeezing, fullness) in the center or left side of the chest, which may last for a few minutes or come and go; lightheadedness, weakness, or faintness; pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back; and shortness of breath. For women, symptoms may also include nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and persistent fatigue.

For she who is always prepared to take on anything for the people she loves needs a trusted partner in times of medical emergencies.

We all hope to avoid this situation, of course. But if it occurs, it's crucial that we know what to do. When experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, it is critical to go to the nearest hospital for evaluation. The sooner the patient receives help, the greater the chance of minimizing damage to the heart.

At Asian Hospital, when patients exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack arrive at our emergency room, we activate what we call Code STEMI. Patients suspected of having a heart attack are promptly attended to by a dedicated heart attack Emergency Response Team.

For she who knows how to love unconditionally deserves a well-conditioned heart.

Apart from undergoing routine heart check-ups, there are useful steps we can take to keep our hearts healthy and minimize the risk of a heart attack. Exercising regularly, for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week with cardio exercises (e.g., brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing), can help condition the heart, improving how it pumps blood to the body.

As much as we want to be of service to everyone we love, too much stress can also be harmful to our hearts. It's important to take things slow and manage our stress and its sources effectively. Having coping mechanisms to minimize stress is crucial. Deep breathing exercises, listening to music, and engaging in arts and crafts are just a few ways to destress.

Because what we eat has a significant impact on our overall health, it's important to be mindful of our diet. Avoiding consumption of foods high in sodium content (e.g., processed foods, deli meats, junk food) is advisable as they can affect blood pressure. Minimizing sugar consumption is also beneficial—when we avoid developing type 2 diabetes, the risk of heart problems is reduced. Additionally, including vegetables and fruits in our diet is essential. The government's pinggang pinoy visualization can assist in better planning our daily meals.

If, unfortunately, you have suffered a heart attack, know that it's not the end. There is hope and the possibility of recovery. There are ways to cope and recondition the heart, and there are professionals you can rely on to assist you on your recovery journey.

Learn more about Asian Hospital’s Heart Screening Packages here and the Asian Cardiovascular Institute here.