A survey conducted by Pharma Dynamics to determine how heart-aware South Africans are in the lead up to Valentine’s Day has revealed that nearly a quarter described their relationship with their hearts as ‘on the rocks’.
The public poll forms part of Pharma Dynamics’ Hug your Heart campaign, which was launched in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA), in an effort to create greater awareness about heart disease in South Africa – a condition which claims the second most lives, after HIV/AIDS, in the country.
Of the 2,000 respondents that participated in the poll, 46% pleaded guilty to activities that put them at risk of heart disease, which includes smoking and drinking too much alcohol, overeating, consuming too much salty, sugary and greasy foods, whilst also living a sedentary lifestyle.
“Unfortunately, it usually takes someone we know to have a heart attack or stroke before we take our own heart-health seriously. The reality is that 215 South Africans die every day from heart disease or stroke – 18% of these deaths occur in women and 13% in men.” said spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, Nicole Jennings.
“While certain genetic risk factors for these conditions cannot be prevented, modifiable risk factors that relate to lifestyle account for the majority of heart disease, and a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent 80% of premature deaths from heart disease. With so many South Africans living with cardiovascular disease, it is imperative that people identify their individual risk factors,” continued Jennings.
The survey also highlighted another worrying trend among young adults where 21% are not taking proactive steps to lower their blood pressure. Conversely, older adults seem to be the most proactive in taking care of their hearts with 88% changing their eating habits by cutting back on salt and 69% engaging in regular exercise.
When it comes to men and women’s attitudes towards their hearts, men seem to take a slightly kinder view. Even though the majority of women who reportedly suffer from heart problems indicated that they are taking active steps to improve the health of their hearts, 19% said they’re not. More female participants also cited cases of high blood pressure than men and only 40% engage in exercise.
Jennings says the reality is that most people only start worrying about their hearts after their 40s, which is almost too late.
“Everyone can and should do something to help reduce their future risk of heart disease, even if you don’t think you are at high risk. More women die prematurely from heart disease than breast cancer, therefore it is vital that both men and women of any age lead healthy lifestyles,” said Jennings.
“South Africans can’t afford to wait until they face a health scare before they take action. We can all take proactive steps now to reduce our future risk of heart disease, so vow to make this Valentine’s Day, a heart-healthy one,” continued Jennings.
Pharma Dynamics has pledged to raise R100,000 for the HSFSA during February as part of the #hugyourheart campaign. For every Facebook post that is shared using #hugyourheart, Pharma Dynamics will donate R5 to the HSFSA.