I HEART HEALTH
By: Melanie Ngema and Nobuntu Dlamini
The month of September marks Heart Awareness month.
This brings awareness to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. There are heart diseases including narrowed or blocked vessels, heart arrhythmia, congenital and coronary that all affect the heart.
These diseases are often effects of neglected health and poor lifestyles which people tend to live.
Despite knowing the dangers of smoking, students still smoke.
“Nicotine is addictive and it is hard to quit. I go through withdrawal symptoms and headaches if I quit smoking,” said graphic design student, Shaquille Abdul-Rasheed.
“Smoking causes vasoconstriction (the constriction of blood vessels which increase blood pressure). It tightens your arteries and also, if you have history of hyper tension, it is likely
that you also will have it,” said Priya Naidoo, a nurse based at the City Campus Clinic.
As a student, campus environment and basic lifestyle may lead to one being prone to having heart problems. Making decisions such as irregular exercise, alcohol and drug consumption
can all play a part in contributing to the risks of the heart.
“Alcohol decreases metabolism and the entire immune system.
It also stimulates problems like LDL cholesterol (blockages of the arteries characterized by the deposition of fatty material on the inner walls),” said Naidoo.
The Heart and Stroke foundation of South Africa states that high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can indicate that you are in danger of suffering from
The foundation strongly recommend regular health check-ups and encourage individuals to measure their cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and their body mass index as these will be vital statistics to help warn students if they are at risk.
In order for us to live a lengthy, healthier life students should take into consider exercising for five to ten minutes a day.
One should avoid food high in cholesterol such as potato products, cakes and jams.
Students should replace these with vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and yogurt. Avoiding drugs and alcohol and finding other ways to spend leisure time such as playing sports or reading will also relieve stress and promote good health.
You may call the Heart and Stroke Foundation health line on 0860 14 32 78 for all your health-related questions and further queries on how to keep a healthy lifestyle.