#Worldheartday: Every Heartbeat Matters | Western Cape Government


#Worldheartday: Every Heartbeat Matters

27 September 2019

At least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors, tobacco, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, are controlled.

This World Heart Day (29 September), the Western Cape Department of Health is encouraging members of the public to take responsibility for their health and BE A HEART HERO. They can do this by making a simple promise to themselves or to someone they love or care about: to eat healthier, to adopt an active lifestyle, and to say no to smoking.

Created and led by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day aims to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and to champion heart health equity.

After non-pregnancy related infections, CVD remains the second most common cause of indirect maternal death in the country. Representing more than 50% of CVD cases is peripartum cardiomyopathy and complications due to rheumatic heart disease, according to research by Professor Karen Sliwa and her team at Groote Schuur Hospital. Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a type of heart failure that occurs during pregnancy or immediately after delivery. It weakens the heart muscle and causes the heart to become enlarged. Consequently, the heart cannot pump blood properly to the rest of the body.

Symptoms include shortness of breath at effort, swollen legs, and heart palpitations. Women who experience these symptoms before or after delivery should consult a nurse or doctor at a nearby health facility to check if she has a heart or lung problem. If this condition is not detected early and treated with several medications, it may result in death

“Although findings from laboratory and clinical research in South Africa, centres in Europe, the United States and other regions, have helped us to understand what is leading to this disease, further ongoing research is extremely important. Not only will this provide further understanding of this disease, it will also help us to manage it better and thereby improve the outcome of women with peripartum cardiomyopathy,” says Professor Karen Sliwa of Groote Schuur Hospital.

World Heart Day Infographic

Media Enquiries: 

Alaric Jacobs
Principal Communications Officer
Groote Schuur Hospital
Tel: 021 404 2188