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World Heart Day: A Healthy Heart Is a Happy Heart

Leading medical insurance providers in SA, Affinity Health, look at how heart disease and stroke can be avoided.


Tragically, heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of death in the world, killing 18.6 million people each year.


The World Heart Federation established world Heart Day to motivate individuals to take action by educating them about how risk factors including cigarette use, poor diet, and physical inactivity can prevent at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke.


Why Is Heart Health Such A Concern In South Africa?

In South Africa, 14% of people aged 30 to 70 die from cardiovascular disease, known as CVD for short. The South African Medical Journal advises that CVD is also behind the deaths of countless children in our country each year. Routine screening in the form of blood tests, x-rays, and electrocardiograms, along with early treatment, may go a long way toward avoiding the progression.


Possible Signs Of An Unhealthy Heart

The symptoms of CVD vary depending on the type of heart disease you have. Mayo Clinic advises that the most common symptoms include:

  • Tightness or pressure in the chest
  • Having trouble catching your breath
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Fatigue
  • A build-up of fluid
  • Palpitations in the heart (heart pounding or racing)
  • Numbness or pain in your limbs
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain


Read More: 5 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease, Heart Health – Why You Should Be Concerned

Good Habits To Keep Your Heart Healthy

You probably already know that regular exercise and a healthy diet are beneficial to keeping your heart in good shape. What more can you do to keep your ticker ticking?


Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health, recommends five things you should do every day to improve your heart’s performance.


Saturated, polyunsaturated, and unsaturated fats are essential in our diet. However, one fat we don’t need is trans-fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke over time.


This is because trans-fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol and lowering your good cholesterol. You can enhance blood flow throughout your body by eliminating trans-fat from your diet.


Dental health is an excellent indicator of overall health, including heart health. Many studies have demonstrated that bacteria in the mouth that contribute to the development of gum disease. This can enter the bloodstream and produce an increase in C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation. As a result of these changes, you may be at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.


Sleep is crucial to maintaining your heart’s health. You may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease if you don’t get enough sleep, regardless of your age or other health practices. Research has revealed that those who sleep less than six hours per night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as those who sleep six to eight hours per night.


Sitting for lengthy periods, regardless of how much activity you get, is harmful to your health. This is bad news for the many people who spend their days sitting at a desk. It is critical to move throughout the day, whether simply parking further away from the workplace, taking a few short walks throughout the day, or using a standing workstation that allows you to move around.


People who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work have a 25 to 30 percent higher chance of getting heart disease, according to studies. Tobacco smoke causes roughly 34,000 premature heart disease fatalities and 7,300 lung cancer deaths per year.


“Everyone should have access to the knowledge, care, and treatment they need to keep

their hearts healthy. World Heart Day is the ideal time for all South Africans to come together in the battle against CVD and lower the worldwide illness burden,” adds Hewlett.


To meet the complex needs of people with heart-related complications, Affinity Health offers various options to members who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, heart valve, coronary artery, and more.

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, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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