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This year, World Heart Day falls on the 29th of September and now more than ever, it is important to take care and protect your heart!


South Africa (28 September 2020) – The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) is embracing the World Heart Federation’s theme “Use heart to beat… cardiovascular disease”, extending the theme to “use heart…for you, your loved ones and all those who live in South Africa.”

Facts about cardiovascular disease

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) cardiovascular disease (CVD) which includes heart disease and strokes, is the leading cause of death globally, claiming nearly 17, 9 million lives every year. In South Africa, heart disease and strokes have the second-highest mortality rate, after TB, HIV and AIDS. In fact, in South Africa (SA) one (1) in every five (5) deaths are caused by CVD. Annually, in SA 82 000 lives are lost.

The key risk factors that drive the high mortality and morbidity for CVD include modifiable and non-modifiable factors. Non-modifiable factors include genetic make-up and predisposition for hypertension, increased cholesterol levels and other comorbid conditions, while modifiable factors include behavioural risk factors such as lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco smoking and increased alcohol consumption.

In SA, the high rate of increased blood pressure or hypertension is very disturbing as hypertension is known to be a “silent killer”. Less than 50% of South African adults living with hypertension, a key driver for CVD, are unaware of their condition. The prevalence of hypertension is estimated to be around 45% among adults.

Similarly, South Africans are known to have a high cumulative risk score for CVD onset due to the fact that there is a high prevalence of obesity, tobacco smoking, and physical inactivity. Given the burden of CVD in SA, Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the HSFSA states that “by abiding by and adopting healthy behaviours and knowing your risk profile you will be able to prevent, to a large extent the risk of CVD onset. She continues to remind us that 80% of CVD is preventable through the adoption of healthy individual action”.

The HSFSA urges all South Africans to have a Health Risk Assessment (which includes checking their blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, iron levels and weight). The HSFSA will be conducting selected HRAs in community and workplace settings.

What can you do to protect your heart?

  • Go for annual health checks which check your blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, iron levels and weight.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce levels of stress.
  • Check the HSF Healthy Lifestyle brochure here for additional advice.

You can get more information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation here.

Sources: Heart and Stroke Foundation
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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