Every year on September 29th is World Heart Day. This year, World Heart Day is about connecting with our own hearts and using the power of digital to connect every heart, everywhere. The World Heart Federation is asking the world to USE TO CONNECT! The goal is to bring awareness of heart health to millions around the world this World Heart Day, and every day.
Heart and blood vessel disease is the world's number 1 killer, but the risk factors are even more common, and many are linked to lifestyle choices. Incorrect eating and a lack of exercise all contribute to the development of insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and gout. Added to the burden of these diseases is the high risk of developing severe COVID if you have these underlying conditions.
So, what are you going to do about it this Heart Awareness Month? Some ideas to help you look after your heart:
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19. All adults in South Africa are eligible for the vaccine. Stellenbosch University (SU) has established a vaccination site to administer COVID-19 vaccines. The site is located in the Lentelus clubhouse at SU's soccer complex in Hammanshand Road, Stellenbosch. All permanent and non-permanent staff members over the age of 18 from any of the University's five campuses will have preference at the SU vaccination site. As an added benefit, they will also be able to have members of their families vaccinated. Students 18 years and older can also access the vaccination services offered at the site. Students must register on the national EVDS (Electronic Vaccination Data System). For more information on the vaccination site, please click here.
- Assist others in getting vaccinated. If you've had your shot but your neighbour does not have a cell phone, help them get registered. Offer to look after someone's kids so they can go get the vaccine! Be available to offer transport - remember to mask up and keep the vehicle windows open.
- Encourage your family and friends to go for regular check-ups of their chronic conditions. Health facilities are safe; don't let fear keep you at home. Be sure to #maskup, #sanitise and #besociallydistant when away from home.
- Exercise! Start with walking for 10 minutes and work your way up until you can walk for 30 minutes at a time five times a week. Keep your mask on and maintain physical distancing, even when outside!
- Make healthier food choices. Aim for less take-outs, decrease the amount of salt you add to your food, eat less red meat and more fruits and vegetables.
As the world struggles to fight COVID-19, we've never been more aware of the importance of our and our loved one's health. Look after your heart and your families hearts this Word Heart Awareness Month!
For more information on how you can look after your heart and improve your health, make an appointment with your usual GP or see one of the Doctors or Clinical Nurse Practitioners at Campus Health Service. To make an appointment at CHS, call 021 808 3494 (Stellenbosch Campus) or 021 938 9590 (Tygerberg Campus).