PRESS RELEASE: Awareness vital in preventing onset of heart disease
Five heart attacks occur every hour in South Africa, with one in four of these proving fatal, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of SA. While there is no single risk factor that leads to heart disease, it is essential for anyone who may be prone to developing a heart-related illness to have the correct medical benefits in place.
Ahead of World Heart Awareness Day on 29th September 2012, Dr Dominique Stott, Executive: Medical Standards and Services at PPS, says heart disease and heart-related diseases are typically related to a history of smoking, lack of exercise, inappropriately high cholesterol and other blood lipids, poor diet and stress. “Aside from these lifestyle issues, a critical factor in the development of heart disease is family history. If a mother or sister under the age of 65, or father or brother under the age of 55 years, developed heart disease, this is considered a significant risk factor.”
“Age is also a contributing factor as the older one gets, the greater the chance that heart disease is likely to develop. While it is less common in women under 50 than men, due to the protective effects of female hormones, this risk starts to equalise between the sexes over the age of 50.”
Dr Stott says that while consumers cannot do anything about their family history or age, it is important to make sure that one has the right benefits in place. “Heart disease is the second highest cause of dread disease claims, which makes it imperative that a dread disease benefit is considered part of any insurance portfolio. “The benefit of having dread disease cover in place is especially important even for those people who have a medical aid, as it can be used to top up funds outside treatment costs such as needing extra home help, lifestyle changes, additional sick leave for the self employed or additional treatment such as counseling.”
She says it is also important for anyone, but especially those who may be prone to developing the disease, to make the necessary changes to their lifestyle. “Even with a family history, the chances of developing heart disease can be reduced by not smoking, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, increasing exercise, and keeping one’s weight under control.
Dr Stott says symptoms such as chest pain, especially if associated with nausea or sweating, must be investigated immediately by a doctor or clinic. “Chest pain which spreads to the left arm, neck, back, stomach or jaw is considered a classic symptom of heart related problems. The sooner treatment is sought, the greater the chance of survival if the problem is heart related.”
“The first step for anyone who believes that they may be at risk is to have their cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure checked at their local doctor or clinic. Based on these results, treatment may be recommended.”
Dr Stott says that by modifying one’s lifestyle, conducting relevant check-ups and ensuring sufficient medical cover is in place - especially for those who do fall into the heart disease risk category - consumers can not only reduce the chance of suffering from a heart attack but also ensure that they are comprehensively covered by their medical scheme, should such symptoms develop.
PPS boasts in excess of 200,000 members who enjoy access to a comprehensive suite of financial and healthcare products that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of graduate professionals.
PPS is the largest South African company of its kind that still embraces an ethos of mutuality, which means that it exists solely for the benefit of its members. Thus, members who are policyholders can exclusively share in the profits of PPS Insurance and those who have PPS Investments products can also share in the profits of PPS Investments.
PPS membership provides access to the following tried, tested and trusted products and services: PPS Insurance, PPS Short-Term Insurance, PPS Beneficiaries Trust, PPS Investments and Profmed Medical Scheme. Visit www.pps.co.za for more information.
Epic Communications (Pty) Ltd
Suite 602, The Regent, 19-33 Regent Road
Sea Point, Cape Town
Office: +27 21 439 8008
Mobile: +27 82 470 0976
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter