Your Health A-Z

Heart health overhaul

For Mediclinic patient Amos Mautla (63), suffering not one but two heart attacks has led to some positive lifestyle changes – not just for him, but also for his family.

Amos has had high cholesterol from the age of 24, so he was always at risk for heart disease – especially when he gained weight, he says. ‘With both heart attacks, my weight was high and I had no clue about body mass index [BMI, which is used to determine whether you are in a healthy weight range for your height].’ Since surviving heart attacks in 2009 and 2014, Amos has adjusted to the challenge of changing his lifestyle by exercising more frequently, amending his diet, controlling stress levels and taking daily medication.

Moving back to heart health

He’s joined a gym on the advice of his cardiologist, and Amos adds other forms of exercise to his daily routine as well. He cites regular exercise as one of the key parts of his continued recovery. ‘I walk and run daily, do aerobics and weights and I also do a lot of core exercises. One of my strengths is that I encourage myself to work very hard in the gym,’ he says. ‘Exercise is taken so seriously now that all my children are gym members and regular race runners.’

Eating right

Amos made many changes to diet after his heart attacks. He avoids high sugar and salt intake as much as possible, and his family limits their intake too. He doesn’t drink alcohol and dilutes dairy products with water. ‘I add supplements to my diet that I researched beforehand, and eat the right foods and type of drinks recommended for cardiovascular patients,’ he says.

‘I eat high-fibre foods like wholewheat bread, oats and brown rice, with skinless chicken and fish, plus salmon and sardines. I also eat beans, soya, vegetables and fruits and drink four cups of boiled water a day on an empty stomach. Everyone in our house, and even my other family members and relatives, are following this healthy diet too.’

Medical checks

His hard work has paid off. ‘I feel excellent and all my readings – cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and BMI – are stable,’ says Amos. ‘I continuously strive to keep these readings at required levels.’ In hopes of protecting his loved ones from heart disease, Amos has also encouraged friends and family to check their cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMI regularly and to monitor their stress levels.

Monitoring blood pressure is one of the most important aspects of heart attack prevention. Amos’s cardiologist, Dr Martin Mpe who operates from Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, says: ‘All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. For those who are already diagnosed with hypertension, monitoring frequency should be directed by the health practitioner who prescribes their treatment.’

Read more in the Spring edition of the Mediclinic Family Magazine below.

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