Congreso de Latinos Unidos educates on health
Last February 27, Congreso de Latinos Unidos and Gateway Health met to address the Spanish-speaking population of Philadelphia, on the occasion of American Heart Month.
The forum, which gathered over fifty people, revolved around the informal lectures presented by three professional physicians. The first, by Dr. M. Angeles Gonzalez-Prado, addressed the unknown and at times undervalued work of general practitioners: preparing the clinical record, performing an analysis, evaluating the risk factors and a long etcetera.
The second presentation of the day was made by Dr. Eddy Mizrahi, who focused on heart attacks, a disease that, in his own words, is the leading cause of death in the US, in both men and women. He assured that the data shows that one out of every four persons suffers a heart attack throughout his/her lifetime, and 1.5 million suffered from a heart attack, last year alone. Mizrahi considered it important, firstly, to clarify the symptoms of this disease (pain or discomfort in the center of the chest, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, fatigue…), highlighting that chest pain is not the main indicator since one out of every three patients is unaware that he/she is having a heart attack.
Once it is confirmed that the patient is having a heart attack, Mizrahi recommends, first of all, to stop doing whatever you are doing at that time. Next, immediately call 911 and not hang up the phone until the doctor arrives. Additionally, and as long as the patient is not allergic to or has any contraindications, the doctor advises taking four 81 mg aspirins. As for prevention, Eddy Mizrahi indicated a healthy diet, staying active (walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or running 25 minutes a day, three times a week, are some of his proposals), not smoking and regular visits to the doctor.
Lastly, Dr. Ronald Concha-Parra took the stand to forewarn participants on colon cancer, the third most common type of cancer in the US and the second cause of death due to cancer (150,000 new cases a year were detected and 50,000 deaths registered). With age as the main risk factor and ensuring that during its early stages this type of cancer does not show any symptoms, Concha-Parra insisted on the importance of prevention by undergoing a colonoscopy as of the age of 50 (considered the age of risk, given that 90 percent of patients are above this age).
This test, unpainful for the patient and not requiring hospitalization (“the patient is awake in three to five minutes and can go home, those he/she must be accompanied”, Concha-Parra assured), is more preventive than diagnostic, since its objective is to remove polyps that in 5 or 10 years could turn into a tumor which one would become aware of upon the presence of the first symptoms (changes in stools, abdominal pain, bleeding…). And thus his message is clear: lack of symptoms and of family history are not important (only 15 percent are hereditary), we must undergo periodical colonoscopies as of the age of 50.