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Inspiring heart health

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WORLD HEART DAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2017

ER24 shares tips on how you can power your heart and inspire people to be heart healthy, marking the World Heart Federation’s World Heart Day.

Most premature heart attacks can be prevented:

80% of premature heart attacks are preventable, according to the World Health Organization.

Eat a healthy diet

A balanced diet should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish and pulses. Restrict salt, sugar and fat intake. Use alcohol in moderation.

Regular activity

At least 30 minutes of regular physical activity every day helps to maintain cardiovascular fitness. At least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week helps to maintain a healthy weight.

Avoid tobacco use

Tobacco in every form is very harmful to your health. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is also dangerous. The risk of a heart attack starts dropping immediately after a person stops using tobacco products, and can drop by as much as half after a year.

Check and control your overall cardiovascular risk

A healthcare worker can estimate your cardiovascular risk using simple risk charts and provide the appropriate advice for managing risk factors.

Know your blood pressure

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms but is one of the biggest causes of heart attacks. Have your blood pressure checked. If it is high, you will need to incorporate a healthy diet with less salt and increase physical activity. You may need medications to control your blood pressure.

Know your blood lipids

Raised blood cholesterol and abnormal blood lipids increase the risk of heart attacks. Blood cholesterol needs to be controlled through a healthy diet and appropriate medications.

Know your blood sugar

Raised blood glucose (diabetes) increases the risk of heart attacks. If you have diabetes it is important to control your blood pressure and blood sugar to minimise risk. It is also important to check and control risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar or diabetes.

Symptoms of a heart attack

• Pain or discomfort in the centre of the chest, arms, left shoulder, elbows, jaw or back

• Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath

• Feeling sick or vomiting

• Feeling lightheaded or faint

• A cold sweat and becoming pale

• Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain

People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

Learn more about World Heart Day at the following websites:

ER24 www.er24.co.za

The World Heart Federation www.worldheartday.org/resources/

The World Health Organization www.who.int

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