Prevention is the same and the treatment will increasingly coincide. In some cases it starts even before birth. Let’s talk about the health of the heart that seems to be conditioned by the lifestyle of the expectant mother. Good cardiovascular health during pregnancy in fact leads to healthier children. That’s why it’s important for pregnant women to have an adequate diet, exercise, and not smoke or drink alcohol. The indication comes from cardiologists who, on the occasion of the 79th Congress of the Italian Society of Cardiology (Sic), point the spotlight on a new form of prevention, the hyper-primary or primordial, which begins just before birth. We talked about it with Professor Giulio Stefanini, Professor at Humanitas University and Cardiologist at the Humanitas Clinical Institute.
The importance of an early start
The healthy behavior of pregnant women can also benefit the fetus. In the case of the heart, it seems that “games” are played before birth, or at least by children and adolescents. Cardiologists recommend that sedentarity before the age of 18 is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease from adults but also born from mothers who have not paid attention to nutrition, movement and health during pregnancy may affect future cardiac well-being. So cardiologists are aiming for hyper-primary prevention, from the time of conception to the age of 18, and underline that physical exercise is the best way to protect the heart from childhood. The company of Italian doctors has adhered to the recommendations of recent U.S. guidelines, according to which the appropriate “dose” of movement is at least 3 hours a day between 3 and 5 years and at least 60 minutes daily from 6 to 17 years.
Unfortunately, estimates say that only 3% of children and young people reach the target with potential negative repercussions in the long term.
Heart and physical activity, a primary link
When practiced on a regular basis, physical exercise reduces mortality linked to cardiovascular diseases by up to 30%.
“Physical activity has an important role and in many cases even exceeds the pharmacological therapy in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, which in large part are caused by sedentary lifestyle – said Giuseppe Mercuro, President Sic -: 9% of premature deaths are attributable to physical inactivity, a ‘weight’ such as smoking.
Italy, a country of sedentary people
Italy is a country of sedentary people. From the young to the elderly. That’s why risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, increased blood fat can be introduced in childhood and adolescence, undermining future cardiovascular health.
“During pregnancy it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle – added the cardiologist, talking again about hyper-primary or primordial prevention -: the bad maternal habits may lead to changes in the expression of the genes of the child that are associated with an increased subsequent cardiovascular risk”. In short, it’ s never too early to think about the health of your child’s heart and doing so is also a way to prevent a premature birth.