Your Health A-Z

Love Your Heart: Keep it beating against heart disease

Heart disease and strokes affect both men and women, yet most people don’t recognise how easy it is to avoid serious risk of heart disease.

This heart and stroke awareness month we are encouraging everyone to take the first step to healing their hearts by adopting simple changes to reduce their risk of heart disease.

One such change is an annual cholesterol screening test, especially if you’re over 35.

That’s why this September, Mediclinic invites you to take advantage of free blood pressure and cholesterol tests at one of our participating hospitals and to share the message on healing your heart with friends and family. Let us help you #KeepItBeating.

Find out why getting screened is important, the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, plus other small changes you can make today to reduce your risk.



I feel fine so why should I get screened?

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the developed world, and it develops silently and quietly inside us. But it is easily detectable if we simply take the time to look out for ourselves. The most important thing to know is that cardiovascular disease could happen to you.

Major risk factors for cardiovascular disease

– Smoking
– Diabetes and other abnormalities of sugar control
– Hypertension
– Cholesterol abnormalities
– Family history of premature cardiovascular event/s

8 Small changes to reduce your risk of heart disease

“Based on the usual causes of strokes and heart attacks, the answers lie in adjustment to lifestyle,” says Dr Aine Mugabi, a cardiologist at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

  1. Monitor your diet
    Fill your menu with heart-healthy food.
  2. Exercise
    Lack of exercise is a huge contributing factor to obesity, so get your body moving – even if it’s just walking a few kilometres a day.
  3. Know your risks
    Do you have a history of heart disease in your family tree? If your parents, grandparents or other relatives had – or died from – heart disease or stroke at a young age, your own risk may be high.
  4. Take your meds
    If you are already on medication for blood pressure or hypertension, make sure that 1) you don’t run out of tablets, and 2) you actually take those tablets as prescribed.
  5. Monitor your cholesterol
    High blood lipids (fats) are a known cause of cardiovascular disease. Your goal is to lower your LDL and boost your HDL. Speak to your GP and/or about ways to achieve this.
  6. Reduce stress
    Stress is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease – and in severe cases, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Lower your stress levels by getting enough exercise, enough sleep and enough ‘down time’.
  7. Don’t smoke
    Smoking cigarettes greatly increase your risk of heart disease, lung disease, stroke… and death.
  8. Go for regular checkups
    When’s the last time you had your blood pressure checked? And what were your numbers? If you don’t know the answer, claim your free screening at any of the participating Mediclinic venues, below.

Entrants to the ‘Mediclinic – #KeepItBeating Competition’ confirm that they have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions of the competition.

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.