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Heart Health Awareness Month – and diabetes

As Heart Health Awareness Month (September) draws to a close, here are a few reminders why people with diabetes need to be aware of heart health.

Heart health facts

According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, in South Africa:

  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cerebrovascular disease (a group of conditions that affect blood flow and the blood vessels in the brain) are the leading cause of death and disability, after HIV and AIDS.
  • CVD are responsible for almost 1 in 6 deaths, claiming more lives than all cancers combined.
  • Every day, 225 South Africans die from heart disease and stroke.
Source: CVD Statistics. Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa.

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Most CVD can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use,
unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Screening for CVD, and other NCDs, are key for early detection, treatment and prevention of other health complications.

Source: Are you at risk of heart disease? Heart Foundation.

How inactivity impacts heart health

Source: Get active. Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa.

Eating well for heart health

  • Eating more salt than you need can be unhealthy as it can increase your blood
  • High blood pressure can cause heart disease and strokes.
  • You should eat no more than 5g of salt per day. 5g is the same as one teaspoon of salt.
  • This 5g includes the salt that you add to your food as well as salt already found in foods
Source: Healthy Eating. Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

How to reduce your salt intake.

  • Reduce your salt intake gradually.
  • If you add salt at the table, stop this habit first. Don’t put the salt shaker on the dinner
  • table.
  • Start using less salt when you are cooking.
  • Taste your food during cooking before you add salt, as it may not need it.
  • If you have already added salty spices or a stock cube, you don’t need salt too.
  • If you used salt during cooking, you don’t need to add more at the table.
Source: Stop Smoking. Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa.

For more information, visit

What to read next?

10 Fast facts about heart disease: Did you know people living with diabetes are more at risk of developing heart disease? Here are the facts and what you can do about it.

Yoga may help reduce heart disease risk: The millenary practice of yoga known as an efficient stress buster that brings practitioners greater vitality and a better mood, it also helps prevent heart disease, which is good news for people with diabetes.

Do people with diabetes need to worry about heart health? We all know that diabetes and heart health go together – heart disease is one of the most common diabetes complications. But does that mean all people with diabetes need to worry about heart health?

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.