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Love your heart, live a healthy and long life


Countries across the globe, including South Africa, will on Thursday September 29 unite in celebration of World Heart Day in a continued effort to create or heighten awareness of cardiovascular diseases.

The City of Johannesburg, which is also deeply concerned about the high rate of cardiac diseases and related deaths among its residents, will mark the 16th edition of the annual event by embarking on a series of intensive educational initiatives at its primary health facilities across its seven regions.

According to Elionora Lebethe, the City’s Deputy Director of Public Health, “diseases of the circulatory system” account for 15.1% of all deaths in Johannesburg and 17.6% of all deaths in Gauteng. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that cardiovascular diseases cause 30% of all deaths globally.

Lebethe said heart diseases were a cause for concern in the City. Speaking ahead of the educational and awareness campaign, Lebethe said regular support group sessions would also be used as a platform to encourage communities to get involved in physical activity.

“As Public Health, we will also be screening residents for hypertension and diabetes at the health facility level and during our outreach initiatives to identify those with risk factors and refer them appropriately,” she said.

Lebethe said, however, that the good news about cardiovascular diseases was that they were largely preventable.

“There are low-cost and straightforward steps that can be taken to reduce the major risk factors. Controlling these helps the heart to age more slowly and dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease,” she said.

“Love your heart and live a healthy and long life by making simple, positive lifestyle changes.”

World Heart Day was first observed in 2000 by the World Heart Federation to promote cardiac health on a global scale. According to the federation, up to 80% of the world’s premature deaths can be prevented by controlling risk factors and adopting positive lifestyle changes.

The federation says that heart diseases and strokes are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.5 million lives a year.

By 2030 this is expected to rise to 23 million. To prevent cardiovascular diseases, it urges people to:

Eat healthy food;
Exercise regularly;
Avoid smoking;
Avoid drinking;
Avoid taking drugs;
Control weight levels;
Address high levels of bad cholesterol;
Address increased glucose levels; and
Avoid stress.
For more information, visit your regional health facility or log onto the World Heart Federation’s website on