Sep 23, 2008

The Heart and Stroke Foundation logo

World Heart Day 2008, Sunday 28th September 


By the year 2025 it is estimated that more than 1.5 billion people¹, or nearly one in three adults over the age of 25, will have high blood pressure. It is one of the biggest single risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the world’s number one killer. There are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, and the only way to know is to visit your doctor for a check-up. That’s why this year’s World Heart Day on Sunday 28th September will be urging people to “Know Your Risk!” 

Cardiovascular disease is claiming more and more South African lives annually, edging up to the already tragic death rate of AIDS. “So many people are unaware of the risks of heart disease and yet there are plenty of simple ways to avoid this illness. Cardiovascular disease is so easily preventable,” says Shân Biesman-Simons, Director of Nutrition and Education at The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA). 

World Heart Day is an international heart health day, and the HSFSA urges South Africans to wake up to the fact that they should assess their risk of heart disease, have a good look at their diet and lifestyle and maybe make necessary changes. 
“We usually hear from people after they’ve had a heart attack – we want to reach them before this happens,” explains Shân. “People need to know if they are at risk, and a simple health check by their healthcare professional or clinic will indicate whether their blood pressure, cholesterol or glucose levels are at a dangerous level.” 

There is a vast public misperception and disproportional lack of attention paid to peoples’ risk of heart disease and stroke in relation to more sensational health issues. As a result people tend to overestimate the number of deaths from rarer and infrequent risks while underestimating those from more common causes such as heart disease and stroke. World Heart Day aims to reduce the balance. “Know Your Risk!” 

For more information on risk factors for heart disease and stroke, consult or call the Heart Mark Diet Line on 0860 223 222.  

During September, Heart Awareness Month, the HSFSA is offering free blood pressure screenings country-wide - for more details or nutritional advice, contact the Heart Mark Diet Line on 0860 223 222 during office hours, or visit 


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Kearney, Project Director: Communications & Public Relations, The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA - +27-21-4474222 - email: . 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA 
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa is a community-based organisation established to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke in the population of South Africa by providing education and supporting vital research. For further information visit

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