Ignite a wave of red during Women’s Heart Health Month with Affinity Health
February isn’t just the month of love. It’s also the month of women’s heart health. Affinity Health encourages all South Africans to ‘Wear Red’ on February 7 and show their support to end heart disease and stroke in women.
Cardiovascular disease, CVD for short, is the leading cause of disabilities and death worldwide, accounting for 17 million deaths a year. While CVD was once believed to be a disease that only struck the elderly, today we know this isn’t true. In fact, more than half of deaths occur before age 65.
Cases of CVD has exploded in South Africa, and it is now the leading cause of death in our country after HIV/AIDS. Every hour, five South Africans suffer heart attacks, and ten people have strokes.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, menopause, obesity, inactivity, family history of heart disease, inflammatory diseases, mental stress and depression, high cholesterol, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and an unhealthy diet.
“The more we know about women and their overall health and well-being, the better we can treat, beat and prevent cardiovascular disease,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“People should also be informed about the early signs and symptoms of risk factors and heart disease to enable them to seek the necessary help to diagnose their conditions.”
Possible signs of heart disease include:
- Chest pain, pressure, tightness, or discomfort
- Pain in the neck, jaw, or throat
- Pain in the upper abdomen or back
- Unusually rapid heartbeat
- Palpitations (irregular heartbeats, skipped beats, or a flip-flop feeling in your chest)
- Extreme weakness or unusual fatigue
- Sudden sweating without cause
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or fatigue
“If you experience any of these symptoms – especially if the symptoms persist – it is important to call your family doctor. In addition to other tests, you may need an ECG (electrocardiogram). This is a quick and painful test that records the electrical signals in your heart and can spot abnormal heart rhythms,” adds Hewlett.
Seven tips on how you can lower your risk of heart disease
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly: Fluctuating or uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease.
- Test for diabetes: Talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested for diabetes, as having uncontrolled diabetes also raises your risk of heart disease.
- Quit smoking: If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn ways to quit the habit once and for all.
- Know your cholesterol levels: Discuss checking your blood cholesterol and triglycerides with your doctor.
- Make healthy food choices: Being overweight or obese raises your risk of heart disease.
- Reduce alcohol consumption: Limit how much alcohol you drink to one drink a day.
- Reduce your stress: Stress can have a negative impact on the health of your heart. Manage stress levels by finding healthy ways to cope with stress.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.