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A Free Test That Could Save Your Life
16th September, 2016
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa
We all get dressed each day to go to work, checking the state of our hair and the way we look as we leave home. But sparing a thought for the state of your heart is much more important – and could save your life. An estimated 210 South Africans die each day from heart diseases and conditions that lead to heart diseaselike obesity, diabetes and hypertension are all on the rise.
Do you know if you’re at risk?
Knowing your risk factors can tell you when and how to act. Sadly many South Africans do not know that they are at risk. Conditions like high blood pressureand high cholesterol are called ‘silent killers’ for a reason - there are no signs or symptoms to warn you if there is a problem.
More than half of those living with high blood pressure have not yet been diagnosed, which is a ticking time bomb waiting to happen, putting the heart under strain and paving the way for a heart attack or stroke. For these conditions the only way to know if you are at risk is to be screened.
Get tested for free
In the month of September, which is Heart Awareness Month, the HSFSA will be offering FREE tests for blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol at all participatingDis-Chem Pharmacies countrywide. The tests are quick to do and are minimally invasive, yet have the potential to save lives and prevent so much pain, discomfort and financial strain.
Know your numbers, know your heart age
Once you’ve been screened, why not find out your Heart Age?Heart Age is a revolutionary tool developed to portray your risk of heart disease and stroke in simple terms – by showing you your heart’s real age. Although not a ‘real’ number, it gives you an overall idea of the health of your heart and whether there’s more you can do to take care of it.
Once you know your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol, you can take the Heart Age test. Simply enter this information into the online Heart Age Calculator, as well as other information, such as smoking status and family history, and you can find out the real age of your heart. If your heart age is younger than your actual age – well done!
You have a lower risk for heart disease. The younger the heart is the better. On the other hand, if your heart age is older than your actual age, this means certain factors are putting you at a greater risk for heart disease, and taking the steps to lead a healthier lifestyle can get your heart age back to where it should be.
Prevention is better than cure
Up to 80% of heart disease is preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Once you know your numbers and know your risk, these are the three simple steps to look after your heart.
- Eat better: Eat more of the foods we know are good, like fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, lean protein foods, dairy products, and healthy plant oils; less foods with the bad stuff like added sugar, salt and unhealthy fats; and enjoy your food but eat the right amount to maintain a healthy weight.
- Move more: We all need to get moving. Exercise keeps us healthy, helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure and a healthy weight. This doesn’t have to be in the gym, anything that increases the heart rate counts. Try brisk walking, dancing or even gardening.
- Stop smoking: Smokers die 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. Start cutting down today and you will start feeling better in as little as 2 weeks! To get the full benefits you have to quit for life.