June 11, 2010
Lyttle Foundation for Heart Disease launched

Vincentians are being reminded that it is their responsibility to safeguard themselves against sickness and disease.

The calls were made by health and wellness officials at the launch of the Janice Lyttle Foundation for Heart Disease last Saturday, which took place poolside at the Grenadine House in Kingstown Park.{{more}}

The foundation, which was initiated by Vincentian international recording artiste Kevin Lyttle in the memory of his mother, aims to educate Vincentians on Chronic Non Communicable Diseases, in particular heart disease.

Lyttle indicated that the foundation will raise funds in an effort to provide financial assistance to persons who may be in need of such.

“The foundation is going to help those in need of information. We would also try to send them away for treatment.”

“This foundation is going to be an extra boost, especially for women because a lot of women around the world show few symptoms and a lot of times it is misdiagnosed.”

Janice Lyttle died at the age of 55 in 2008 from a heart attack brought on by diabetes.

Health Educator in the Ministry of Health and the Environment, Patsy Wyllie, who spoke at the launch, said that while her ministry’s primary goals include the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention of diseases and injury, the ultimate responsibility for one’s health is in his or her hands.

“As citizens, we have to understand that we are responsible for our own health, and sometimes we always think it is the other person, until it hits close to home… there are certain things we cannot do for you, so you determine the quality of life that you live.”

Wyllie disclosed that the number one cause of death in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean is Chronic Non Communicable Disease, with cancer being the main killer.

She added that cancer is followed by diabetes and hypertension which can lead to heart disease and stroke, with HIV and AIDS coming in behind.

“There are certain risk factors that can expose us to heart attacks and strokes; some of it we can do something about and others we cannot do anything about,” Wyllie said.

Factors that are beyond our control, Wyllie indicated, include our age, race, sex and family history.

Avoidable risk factors include smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet and to some extent violence and criminal activities.

“We all know that we have to die some day, but what we know for sure is that we determine what our journey is like. Through certain measures and lifestyle changes we can determine somewhat how we die.”

A number of other lifestyle changes were highlighted by head of the Division of Sports in the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Nelson Hillocks, who advocated that persons introduce physical activities (exercise) to one’s daily or weekly routine.

“Physical activity improves the quality of life,” Hillocks said. “Physical activity extends longevity, protects against the development of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases, and helps maintain full functioning and independence among the elderly.”

According to Hillocks, the relationship between physical activity and improved health includes a reduced demand of oxygen at any given level of physical activity, a reduced tendency for blood to form clots where arteries have narrowed, it increases elasticity in the arteries and creates changes in the brain chemistry that may improve mood and cognitive functioning.

“Becoming more physical active is up to us; no one can deprive you of it, it’s just a matter of incorporating some simple steps into your life.”

“As of now, in memory of the late Janice Lyttle, let us all commence the transformation of our lives. The task is not easy but we can make it.” Hillocks added.