Your HEART is in your hands

World Heart Day is a global campaign celebrated on the 29th of September with the aim of drawing people’s attention to heart disease and the range of associated health issues. The day is commemorated to promote different preventative steps and changes in lifestyle to avoid cardiovascular events and diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure and any other related conditions. 

According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and strokes, are the leading cause of disabilities and death worldwide, accounting for 17 million deaths a year (31% of total global deaths). In South Africa CVD is the leading cause of death after HIV/AIDS and is responsible for almost 1 in 6 deaths (17.3%), equating to 215 people dying every day from heart disease or strokes[1]

“At Novartis we believe in a world where heart health services and education is a fundamental human right and a crucial element to ensure universal health and wellness.  The Novartis Lego Heart campaign, which coincides with World Heart Day is an important initiative   to raise public awareness about heart and heart-related diseases. It is also intended to  educate the public on  how to manage their disease once diagnosed, – which symptoms to look-out for, the importance of regular medical check-ups, and adopting a responsible  lifestyle including a healthy diet and regular exercise”, says Dr Miles Braithwaite, Medical Therapeutic Area Head – Primary Care, Novartis South Africa.

A lack of awareness around cardiovascular disease results in people being undiagnosed and untreated until it is too late. This year for World Heart Day, The Heart Federation is on a mission to ensure heart health equity for all by creating a global community of Heart Heroes. 

Novartis South Africa is joining in on this mission and supporting the commitment that was made by world leaders in May 2012 to reduce global mortality from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025[2], by embarking on the Lego Heart campaign. 

The campaign is aimed at reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as improving the quality of life for people from all walks of life, mobilizing them to act now to live longer, better, heart-healthy lives. Since high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and raised cholesterol are risk factors for developing or exacerbating CVD, regular screenings are essential to curb the increase in non-communicable diseases and development of heart failure.  As such the Lego Heart Campaign will kick off in September with disease awareness activations and health screenings in different malls in selected provinces across South Africa. 

Ahead of World Heart Day, below are some symptoms to be aware of, to be able to effectively manage or recognize heart failure3:

Shortness of breath
Heart failure can cause the fluid in your body to gather in your lungs which may cause you to feel short of breath during everyday activities3.

Heart failure means less oxygen-rich blood is circulating the body. Because your muscles and tissues need oxygen for energy, this means people with heart failure can feel tired very easily3.

Shortness of breath when lying down
Lying flat may also make you feel short of breath so that you need to sleep sat up or with multiple pillows3.

Swelling in the ankles, legs and abdomen
Clothes or shoes might feel tighter as fluid in the body builds up in the legs, ankles or abdomen causing them to swell up3.

Rapid heartbeat
The heart sometimes starts to speed up to compensate for its reduced ability to pump blood around the body3.

Sudden weight increase
Worsening heart failure may cause an increase in weight of more than two kilograms  in one week because fluid builds up in your body3.

Loss of appetite
A build-up of fluid around the gut can affect digestion and might cause a loss of appetite, or make you feel sick when eating3.

Frequency of urination
A reduced amount of blood reaches your kidneys when you have heart failure, causing you to urinate less frequently. Conversely, if you take diuretics (e.g. water pills), you might urinate more frequently, when the excess fluid in your body is eliminated3.

The above symptoms are non-specific and are not intended to diagnose heart failure/ replace medical advice but may form the basis for discussion between patients and their healthcare professionals. 

Information about the Lego Heart Campaign Mall Activations:

Western CapeCentury City24th – 26th September9am – 4pm
Western CapeWillowbridge27th – 28th September9am – 4pm
Kwa-Zulu NatalChatsworth3rd – 4th October9am – 4pm
Kwa-Zulu NatalThe Pavilion5th – 6th October9am – 4pm
Kwa-Zulu NatalGateway Centre7th – 8th October9am – 4pm

Join us at any of the locations listed above to get tested now!

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