In recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2016), CFIC presents the following translation of a Lecture by Dr. Hu Dayi from CFI China’s October 2015 Women’s Health Popularization forum. CFI Canada hosted a CFI China delegation at our offices in the summer of 2015 and we continue to build on our friendship!
Blythe Nilson, Science Chair – CFI Canada
Women’s Health Popularization Forum – October 2015
China Care and Compassion Society
Lecture by Dr. Hu Dayi
[Chief, Heart Institute Intervention Center, People Hospital of Peking University
President, China Heart Federation (CHF), Chinese Society of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation (CSCPR), Chinese Society of Heart & Brain Diseases (CS-HBD)]
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Our topic today is women’s health. Today at noon we signed, a Women’s Health Plan for our international community to carry out many projects to further promote the Chinese Women’s Health, the first of which is demonstrated at today’s meeting.
I want to talk about several topics. First, what is the most important threat to women’s health by disease? We always thought that the threat to women’s health and life are gender-related cancers. This appears to have been a misunderstanding. In fact deaths of women with cardiovascular disease is far greater than the sum of deaths by cancer, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. So the first killer of women is cardiovascular disease.
Second, we have carried out a domestic survey investigating Beijing, Shanghai and the western rural area of China. We found that only 10% of people are aware that the first killer of women is cardiovascular disease
Third, it is more and more common for women to present with cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction. But often their symptoms are not typical, and therefore lead to misdiagnosis, delaying the most valuable treatment tool – time.
Why do we pay special attention to women’s health? Is the main catch to focus on women’s health problems? Or to vigorously promote healthy lifestyles, do lifestyle interventions and treatments? Careful control of risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and prevention of these risk factors may be the primary way forward.
Chinese women are likely to be a pillar of the health of their families. In China, women attend to family health more closely than in Western countries. So a focus on women’s health may have an impact on three generations of health. The starting point to launch the establishment of a healthy family focus is by starting with women’s health.
Today we represent a science popularization forum. We hope the little things that a lot of people insist on doing will make a big difference. Talking about movement, talking about health, but also paying attention to the systematic, comprehensive factors of health. We must talk about nutrition, about the more comprehensive and more integrated aspects of health. We need to focus on practical solutions, not just high-level theories
Implementation is very challenging. Lifestyle changes require the participation of millions of people in millions of households. Over the past 15 years, I have been running my own demonstration projects: First, “ten thousand steps a day” and second “take the cup”.
Walking is the easiest activity to promote. After 15 years, ten thousand steps a day has become a way of action. From government officials to migrant workers, to entrepreneurs, to doctors, many have followed this path. I walk ten thousand steps myself. There are some new smartphone features and applications that allow you to compare results with others, providing mutual supervision for one another. Everyone can see who does well, who walks more, who walks less. Walking ten thousand steps may seem like a small thing, but many people have committed to doing it. For myself, over 15 years I have gone from a body weight of 93 kg body weight to a consistent 74 kg – 76 kg. By controlling my body weight, I have also achieved blood glucose control – this effect was very fast. Exercise and weight control can also reduce triglycerides, have an impact on blood pressure, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and for some patients promotes improved blood circulation.
The second demonstration is take the cup – a very simple thing. First, for your health, remind yourself to drink more water; second, for environmental protection, avoid the use of disposable plastic bottles. It often happens, both in businesses and at public places, that a large proportion of the mineral water drinks from these bottles are discarded unused, which wastes energy, and also the bottles themselves add unnecessary waste. We must not be afraid of beginning small. Make a start and possibly everyone will join, continue to participate, and finally make a big difference, to improve everyone’s health.
In summary, my study of women’s health and longevity found that the healthiest way for both women and men is to eat a balanced diet, to walk often, to drink plenty of water, and do not smoke,.
The Chinese Ministry of Health recently revised its previous guideline to consume 1200ml of water per day, increasing the recommendation amount to 1600 ml.
The Chinese female smoking rate is very low, but secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. We should stand up and put an end to smoking in public places. I have quit smoking myself, and in June 2015, Beijing enacted a total ban on public smoking (though it has not been consistently enforced). We suggest more and more people should stand up and speak out against smoking in public. Women are exposed to second smoke from their husbands, colleagues smoking, and secondhand smoke in public places. One trend that is of particular concern is that while for Chinese elderly men smoking rates are declining, the rate of Chinese adolescent female smoking rate has increased. Teenagers take smoking as fashionable and as a means of weight loss or weight control – this is a dangerous signal of great concern.
Do not try to compare your fame and fortune with that of others. Do something you enjoy; enjoy life. Maintain a healthy quality of life by making sure that you get enough sleep; do not make yourself too tired, and try to have at least six hours of sleep each night. Recent studies have found a link between poor sleep and cardiovascular disease; many scientists believe that failure to manage sleep disorders results in increased risk for cardiovascular disease and even increased mortality.
Unfortunately, we have been seeing an increase in death from overwork – called “karoshi” in Japan. Last year many 40 to 50 year-old doctors (including cardiac surgeons and obstetricians/gynecologists) died prematurely from cardiovascular disease and stroke. This is a tragedy. Doctors are currently working at high-intensity pressure. We want to work hard to help our patients be both mentally and physically healthy. We are concerned about vulnerable groups, concerned about social issues, seeking to promote family harmony and human health. I have found balance for myself by “managing my mouth” (controlling my diet), and “managing my stride” (walking ten thousand steps per day). I hope to help my colleagues improve themselves as well.
In Chinese history, we see many old generals and old leaders who have lived to one hundred years. We should work towards this for ourselves as we strive to be serious about taking care of ourselves. In the past, there was an old Chinese saying “Life of seventy is rare in ancient times.” Now a new World Health Organization statement defines “premature death” as death of a 70-year-old! This completely overturns the traditional view, I think a premature death 70 years ago was 90 year old. It should be that we advance to a hundred years old, but also advance to healthy living, which is the goal.
Thank you, all.