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South Africans with heart diseases neglecting treatment because of Covid-19

The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) is concerned that South Africans suffering from cardiovascular diseases are not getting the medical treatment they require because they fear contracting Covid-19.

HSFSA head Prof Pamela Naidoo told TimesLIVE on World Heart Day on Tuesday: “This is alarming because high-risk patients should always ensure they adhere to their medical treatment plan to avoid fatal consequences.”

According to the foundation‚ about 225 South Africans die from heart disease‚ strokes and other circulatory diseases every day.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is a particular problem given that communicable diseases such as HIV‚ Aids‚ and TB‚ and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD)‚ which includes heart disease and strokes‚ diabetes‚ cancer and so on‚ have high rates of morbidity and mortality.

“Moreover‚ since March 2020 we have seen the direct and indirect effect of Covid-19 on both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

“There is sufficient evidence locally‚ regionally and globally that demonstrates the poor health outcomes for individuals who test positive for Covid-19 and have comorbidities or multi-morbidities‚” she said.

Given the burden of CVD in SA‚ Naidoo said: “By abiding by and adopting healthy behaviours and knowing your risk profile‚ you will be able to prevent‚ to a large extent‚ the risk of CVD onset.”

She said 80% of CVD is preventable through the adoption of healthy individual action.

“In an online survey conducted by HSFSA‚ we found more than 60% of individuals are aware of what heart disease and strokes are and the common risk factors. Clearly‚ awareness is insufficient as it is more important to take action and adapt our health behaviours‚” said Naidoo.

Source: ARENA Holdings.