Heart disease is the primary cause of death in the world for both men and women and second only to HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of death in South Africa. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, a staggering 130 South Africans suffer heart attacks daily. With these sobering statistics in mind during National Heart Awareness Month, it is comforting to know that the team of dedicated heart specialists and other healthcare professionals at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg can advise you on how to reduce your risk of heart disease and provide appropriate treatment options for patients with heart disease.
“The cardiac facility at our hospital has been providing cardiac services for seven years. Netcare St Anne’s Hospital was the first healthcare facility in Pietermaritzburg to offer cardiology and cardiothoracic services and the majority of our cardiac team members have been with us since we opened. Team members, with their vast collective experience, work closely together to provide quality care to patients in the Midlands region,” says Louis Joubert, general manager at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital.
Netcare St Anne’s Hospital offers a full spectrum of heart-related medical services, including angiograms (x-rays used to examine blood vessels), the fitting of pacemakers and bypass operations. “Our cardio-thoracic team have performed over 643 open heart surgeries since we opened the unit at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital. Nearly 5 000 angiograms have also been done since 2006,” elaborates Joubert.
One of Netcare St Anne’s Hospital’s extremely satisfied patients is Mr Chester Mayne, who celebrated his 100th birthday on 4 August this year. A few weeks after his centenary, Mr Mayne had a pacemaker fitted to treat his arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm. “The care I experienced at the hospital was top notch. The pacemaker will help me continue to live life to the full and keep busy with my woodworking. I always say, ‘When you rest, you rust’, so this little device will ensure that there’s no resting or rusting for me,” Mr Mayne indicates.
Mr Mayne says he would definitely recommend the hospital to anyone who has a heart problem. “My doctor explained everything to my stepdaughter and I. I will of course go back for regular checkups knowing that I am in good hands,” he says.
The hospital is currently in the process of enhancing and expanding its wards, technology, equipment and services. This upgrade will include a 16-bed high care ward where cardiac patients will experience quality care, along with new and improved facilities.
“With the focus on heart health during September, National Heart Awareness month, I would urge anyone who is concerned about the health of their heart to consult a cardiologist. When a cardiac condition is detected early, timeous and effective treatment can make a significant difference,” concludes Joubert.
Smart lifestyle choices can combat heart disease
Most people are unaware that they have or are developing cardio-vascular disease. This is because risk factors, such as high blood pressure, could develop without clear symptoms. Often the first ‘sign’ of a cardio-vascular disease might be a heart attack or stroke.
The good news is that cardio-vascular disease is often preventable, as it is often related to an unhealthy lifestyle. Heart disease is more prevalent in people who smoke, eat foods rich in saturated fats, have high stress levels, are overweight and get little exercise. Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps to combat these risk factors for heart disease and could also have many other health benefits. It is also advisable to go for regular medical check-ups and screening for conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. By knowing one’s health status, action could be taken to address any risk factors.
Possible heart disease symptoms
- Heaviness or pain in the centre of the chest, known as angina, which may extend to the jaw, face, arms, abdomen or back.
- Breathlessness that starts suddenly after light activity or even while resting.
- Retaining fluid in areas such as the ankles, legs or lungs may be a sign that your blood circulation is compromised. Fluid in the lungs may cause shortness of breath and is potentially life threatening.
- While it may be harmless, fainting may also be an indication of insufficient blood supply to the brain and that you may have heart disease.
- Fatigue may be a symptom of heart disease.
- Blue-tinged fingernails and lips may indicate poor circulation.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Anne’s Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Sarah Beswick
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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