The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa urges South Africans to get their blood pressure tested to know their risk. “It can save your life!”
Statistics provided by the Heart Foundation indicate that:
- 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented;
- 225 South Africans are killed by heart disease every day;
- 45% of adults in South Africa have high blood pressure; and
- 10 people suffer a stroke in South Africa every hour.
According to the Foundation, high blood pressure often has no symptoms and it is therefore very important to check your blood pressure regularly (at least once a year) at your nearest clinic, doctor or pharmacy.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most serious risk factors for death from heart diseases and strokes, responsible for 13% of all deaths globally, writes The Heart and Stroke Foundation in its website, www.heartfoundation.co.za.
“In South Africa, more than 1 in 3 adults live with high blood pressure and it is responsible for 1 in every 2 strokes, and 2 in every 5 heart attacks,” the Foundation says.
Did you know that a high salt intake is linked to high blood pressure?
The Heart and Stroke Foundation offers three simple ways to use less salt:
- Choose less salty foods – look for the Heart Mark. Cook at home with fresh ingredients.
- Cook with less salt. Use dry herbs, spices, garlic, lemon and chilli for flavour.
- Do not add salt to prepared food. Taste food before adding more salt (better yet, remove the salt shaker from the table).
In an article published by the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa on the website, www.ngopulse.org, new legislation to reduce salt in processed foods came into effect on 30 June 2016.
“South Africans eat on average double the recommended daily salt limit of 5 grams a day. Most of this salt does not come from what consumers add themselves, but rather from what is added during manufacturing.” The article goes on to say that excess salt can raise blood pressure, thereby contributing to heart disease, strokes and kidney disease.
A brochure on ‘Salt and Your Health’ by The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, looks at where salt in the South African diet comes from:
- 5% Salt – Naturally in food
- 40% Salt – Added during cooking or at the table
- 55% Salt – From processed foods
According to the Western Cape Government, further to the new salt regulation from 30 June 2016, another stricter limit needs to be met by 2019.
You can check to find out where the salt in your diet comes from by checking out www.saltcalculator.co.za.
For more information on heart disease and to test your blood pressure, visit your nearest pharmacy or healthcare practitioner.