Look around the office, a mall or your book club and count 10 people. Now think about this: one of them will die from heart disease

It’s a chilling thought, and the reason we need to highlight World Heart Day (29 September), a day designed to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

In South Africa, one in every five deaths is caused by heart disease and stroke, totalling nearly 82 000 lives lost annually. This makes CVD the biggest killer following HIV and AIDS.

Small changes make a big difference

The good news is that at least 80% of premature deaths from CVD could be avoided by reducing risk.

Along with the World Heart Federation (WHF), the Hatter Institute, the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) and the SA Heart Association are calling for us all to make the small lifestyle changes that can make a powerful difference to heart health.

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“Around the world, one in 10 people die prematurely from cardiovascular disease but the power to change this is in our hands,” says Prof Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the HSFSA.

“Making small lifestyle changes such as eating more fruit and vegetables, keeping active, reducing alcohol consumption and stopping smoking can save lives”

Related: 10 Tips for a healthy heart 

Get tested (free of charge)

The HSFSA recommend getting a Health Risk Assessment. This includes blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels tests, and weight assessment.

During the month of September, you can get this done free of charge at all Dis-Chem Pharmacies.

MediRite pharmacies are also offering free blood pressure and cholesterol testing between 23 and 29 September in support of World Heart Day.

For more information about heart health and World Heart Day events, visit www.heartfoundation.co.za

Source: The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.