Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital will be embracing Heart Awareness Month this Friday, 26 September 2014, with heart health talks and health screenings between 10am and 2pm, all of which will be for free to interested members of the public.
Dr Suzette Fourie, cardiologist at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, will be giving advice on how healthy living can promote a healthy heart and Dr John Stanfliet, chemical pathologist, will talk about the importance of having regular cholesterol checks done. The health screenings, which are sponsored by PathCare Pathology, will include cholesterol testing, glucose testing, blood pressure screening, dietary advice and counselling services.
"Your general health and heart health go hand in hand, as people who maintain a healthy lifestyle usually have a healthy heart. With cardiovascular disease being a leading cause of death in our country, it is extremely important that we look after our hearts," notes Dr Fourie.
Dr Fourie shares her top 10 tips for a healthy heart:
Kick the habit – Smokers are twice as likely to have heart attacks as non-smokers as smoking reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can carry to your heart. Do your heart and your health a favour and give up the smokes today!
Eat a heart-healthy diet – Fill your fridge with vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and oily fish to keep your body healthy. Limit your intake of fast foods, processed foods and products high in sugar and saturated fats.
Know your family history – Genetics also play a factor in matters of the heart. If a close relative, such as a sibling or parent, has heart disease, then your risk is increased. Ensure you schedule regular visits with your doctor to keep an eye on your health.
Get active – Remember that your heart is a muscle so it needs to 'stay in shape'. Exercise at least five times a week for half an hour at a time. Make sure you choose an exercise that you enjoy so you stay motivated, or work out with a partner.
Cut the salt – Limit your salt intake to one teaspoon per day. Remember that many foods contain high amounts of sodium even without you reaching for the saltshaker.
Drink less alcohol – An excess of alcohol can damage the heart muscle so limit your intake to a few units a week. Binge drinking is particularly dangerous to your heart.
Know your numbers – Have your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol tested annually so that you can take action if necessary to keep your health on track. Your doctor will be able to advise you on how to get those numbers to where they should be.
Maintain a healthy weight – Your chance of having a heart attack increases by a third if you are overweight and by 100% if you are obese, so start making changes to your diet and activity levels today!
Sleep tight – Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night so that your heart has time to rest too. Also ask your bed partner to be on the lookout for sleep apnoea, a sleeping disorder where sufferers temporarily stop breathing, as this can contribute to the risk of a heart attack.
Don't stress – Stress can be a significant trigger for heart episodes, whether the stress be work-related or personal. Stress also often goes hand in hand with an unhealthy diet, more smoking and more alcohol intake. Ensure that you set aside time to do relaxing activities so that the stress does not completely overwhelm you.
"Looking after your heart is one of the most important things you can do for your health. By taking note of the above tips, you will put yourself on the right track to a healthy heart," says Dr Fourie.
Anyone interested in attending Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital's Heart Awareness Day should please contact Michelle Norris on 021 480 6125. All health screenings will be done on a first come, first served basis.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Christiaan Memorial Hospital
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Beswick and Jillian Penaluna
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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