Cardiovascular disease (CVD) today is responsible for approximately one-third of deaths worldwide1. According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, heart disease is the number one killer in South Africa; one in three men and one in four women will have a heart condition before the age of 602. There is therefore a great need for a better understanding of both the prevalence of heart diseases and the associated risk factors among South Africans and a need to translate such information into effective health policies, health programmes and services. Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, stress, smoking and an unhealthy diet are key contributors to high blood pressure and cholesterol which could subsequently result in heart disease and heart attacks.
The South African National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey 2012 (SANHANES1) also revealed that two out of five participants (39.7%) ate a diet of poor nutritional quality with almost one out of five participants (18.3%) eating foods with high levels of fat and sugar. On average, South Africans scored five out of nine when it came to general nutritional knowledge, with nearly two thirds of men and women thinking they were eating and drinking healthily, and needed to make no change to their diet. Yet South Africans already number among the highest sufferers of hypertension worldwide. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer”, because there are no warning signs or symptoms and people don’t realise they have it.
Education and awareness have a big role to play in controlling cardiac disease in South Africa. To discuss this important topic, the Philips Cardiac Conversation brought together Dr Zambakides, cardiologist at Life Bedford Gardens Hospital, Gabriel Eksteen, Dietician at the South African Heart and Stroke Foundation, Stacey Holland, TV presenter, USN ambassador and fitness ambassador, Letshego Zulu, biokineticist and personal trainer and John Hamlett, professional running coach and owner at N.E.W, in an interactive panel discussion hosted by Robert Marawa, Supersport presenter and heart-attack survivor.
The panellists took advantage of the platform to weigh in on a conversation that they are individually passionate about, and engage with an audience made up of other invested healthcare professionals, as well as lifestyle and healthcare media.