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Show your heart some TLC –

Not a male problem after all

Your heart is one of the most hard-working organs in your body as it pumps life-giving blood through your veins 24/7. Yet it is often taken for granted and its health is neglected.

It is a common perception that heart attacks and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are a male problem, but the opposite is true – they’re the leading cause of premature death in women.

According to statistics, more than two million women die annually across the world from heart attacks or CVDs. South Africa’s Heart and Stroke Foundation has found that one in four women might develop a heart condition before the age of 60. This risk increases three-fold once menopause is reached.

The Foundation compared last year’s heart disease statistics with the crime statistics for the same period, and found that while 49 people were murdered daily in South Africa during 2014/15, a staggering 210 people died daily from heart disease – and most of them were women. One of the main reasons women are less aware of heart disease is because they are only affected about 10 years later than men and symptoms present differently – leading to a condition being missed or even misdiagnosed.

Women also tend to wait longer before going to hospital when having a heart attack, thus putting themselves at a higher risk of dying or being disabled.

“It is time we changed the perceptions about heart disease and CVDs. The majority of CVDs are preventable, so we need to make everyone – especially women – more aware of the risks, symptoms and how to take care of their hearts,” said the chief principal officer of the Bonitas Medical Fund, Doctor Bobby Ramaisa.

So, how can you take care of your heart?

Here are some tips:

– Get active. To maintain a healthy heart, aim for at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity per week.

– Control your cholesterol levels.

– Eat better. The right food can aid in controlling weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and other healthy choices.

– Manage your blood pressure and stress levels.

– Maintain a healthy weight.

– Reduce blood sugar levels.

– Stop smoking.

– Learn your family history and make sure you are familiar with the warning signs indicating that a heart attack or stroke is imminent.

Ramaisa concluded by saying: “The tragedy is that the majority of CVDs can be prevented. That is why we need women to realise the severity of heart disease – the number one threat. Now is the time to take action.”

The message to women is clear – to keep the beat going and the blood pumping, give your heart some tender loving care.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at roodepoortrecord@caxton.co.za (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites Randfontein HeraldKrugersdorp News and Get It Joburg West Magazine

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