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Take care of your heart

September being Heart Awareness Month, Stellenbosch University, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, is planning an educational campaign on heart health culminating with the idea that everyone wears red on Friday 28 September in Stellenbosch (the university, schools and the general public).

This will be the lead up to World Heart Day on 29 September.

The Theme for 2018 is “My Heart, Your Heart”.

“The concept is that I care enough about your heart to tell you about what you can do to protect your heart,” says Dr Jo-Anne Kirby from campus health services.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, cardiovascular disease (which includes heart disease and stroke) is the leading cause of death in South Africa after HIV/Aids and 120 people suffer a heart attack daily.

Dr Kirby gives the following tips on the “BESST” way to look after your heart:

B – Every person should have an annual blood pressure

Check done by a healthcare professional.

E – Inactivity is a risk factor from heart disease, separate from any other risk factor and is easy to correct.

Reduce sitting time and increase activity in day to day for example take the stairs instead of the lift and start to exercise.

S – Excess salt can increase blood pressure which is a risk for heart disease. Do not add salt to food, rather use herbs for flavour. Packaged meals and tinned food are high in salt.

S – Stop smoking. Next to inactivity, smoking is the greatest hazard to your heart as well as other organs. It also has an impact on those around you. Reduce your smoking and quit. Speak to your doctor about a prescription to help you quit.

T – So now you know what is BESST, tell your parents, your siblings, your children, your colleagues and peers. Spread the message.

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