Stroke Newsletter Autumn 2014
Article Index
Stroke Newsletter Autumn 2014
Silent Killer Stalks 6.3 Million South Africans
Five Ways to Use Less Salt
Tips For Buying Shoes
Better Sleep, Naturally
Nog 'n Grappie
Fat, Sick and Sad South Africans
Ways to Become Mindful
All Pages






Silent Killer Stalks 6.3m South Africans

(Times, 4 July 2013)
Almost 3 in 10 adults in South Africa – 6.3 million people – have high blood pressure.
In 1998, 20% of South Africans had high blood pressure, which puts people at risk of strokes, kidney failure and heart attacks.  The figure has climbed to 30%.
Doctors call high blood pressure the silent killer because so many people do not know they have it.  It is one of the biggest costs to medical aids because so many members need chronic medicine for it.
Professor Brian Rayner, president of the Southern African Hypertension Society said: “Hypertension is not expensive to treat, but because 30% of all South African Adults, the overall costs rise for medical aids.  However this cost is offset by preventing stroke, kidney failure and heart disease.
In South Africa 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur daily.
Resolution Health principal officer Mark Arnold said heart-related problems were the biggest monthly cost for the scheme. 
Rayner said, even though in 90% of cases, doctors did not know the exact cause of high blood pressure, it was usually inherited or caused by unhealthy lifestyle.
In all cases salt reduction helped people lower their blood pressure, he said.
On average, South Africans eat 40g of salt a day instead of the 5g recommended by the World Health Organisation.
In March, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi signed into law regulations that force manufacturers to reduce salt quantities in bread by 2016 and again in 2019.  His decision was prompted by research by Wits University’s school of Public Health that found that South Africa could save R300-million a year by decreasing salt in bread.
Wits school of health professor Karen Hofman said reducing salt in bread would save 6 300 lives.
According to Novartis Pharmaceuticals, “a modest reduction in  blood pressure can reduce chances of a stroke by 30% to 45%, heart attacks by 20% - 25% and heart failure by 50%




Five Ways to Use Less Salt

Sodium chloride (salt) is essential to the body. The sodium in salt helps transmit nerve impulses and contract muscle fibers. Working with potassium, it balances fluid levels in in the body. But you only need a tiny amount of salt to do this, less than one-tenth of a teaspoon. The average American gets nearly 20 times that much.

The body can generally rid itself of excess sodium. In some people, though, consuming extra sodium makes the body hold onto water. This increases the amount of fluid flowing through blood vessels, which can increase blood pressure.

Most of the salt that Americans consume comes from prepared and processed foods. The leading culprits include snack foods, sandwich meats, smoked and cured meat, canned juices, canned and dry soups, pizza and other fast foods, and many condiments, relishes, and sauces — for starters. But enough comes from the salt shaker that it’s worth finding alternatives. Here are 5 ways to cut back on sodium when cooking or at the table:


Use spices and other flavour enhancers. Add flavour to your favourite dishes with spices, dried and fresh herbs, roots (such as garlic and ginger), citrus, vinegars, and wine. From black pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric to fresh basil, chili peppers, and lemon juice, these flavour enhancers create excitement for the palate — and with less sodium.


Go nuts for healthy fats in the kitchen. Using the right healthy fats — from roasted nuts and avocados to olive, canola, soybean, and other oils — can add a rich flavour to foods, minus the salt.


Sear, sauté, and roast. Searing and sautéing foods in a pan builds flavour. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of many vegetables and the taste of fish and chicken. If you do steam or microwave food, perk up these dishes with a finishing drizzle of flavourful oil and a squeeze of citrus.


Get your whole grains from sources other than bread. Even whole-grain bread, while a healthier choice than white, can contain considerable sodium. And bread contains salt, not just for flavour but to ensure that the dough rises properly. You can skip that extra salt when you use whole grains outside of baking. Try a Mediterranean-inspired whole-grain salad with chopped vegetables, nuts, and legumes, perhaps a small amount of cheese, herbs and spices, and healthy oils and vinegar or citrus. For breakfast, cook up steel-cut oats, farro, or other intact whole grains with fresh or dried fruit, and you can skip the toast (and the extra sodium).


Know your seasons, and, even better, your local farmer. Shop for raw ingredients with maximum natural flavour, thereby avoiding the need to add as much (if any) sodium. Shop for peak-of-season produce from farmers’ markets and your local supermarket.


(Healthbeat, 4 July 2013)




8 tips for buying shoes that are good to your feet

Buying the right shoes is an investment in foot health. But how do you find ones that fit properly and provide adequate support? 

Start with your own feet, and look at what’s already in your closet. Stand barefoot on a piece of paper or cardboard, and trace the shape of each foot. Now take your shoes, one by one, and place them on top of the drawing. If you’re like most people, your “comfortable” shoes will closely match the outline of your own feet.

Identify the shoes that cause pain. If you’re a woman, most of these will be shoes with narrow toes or high heels. Check to see if the toe of the shoe is narrower or shorter than your own toes.

When you’re ready to replace some of that uncomfortable footwear, these tips can help:


Wait until the afternoon to shop for shoes — your feet naturally expand with use during the day and may swell in hot weather.


Wear the same type of socks that you intend to wear with the shoes.


Have the salesperson measure both of your feet — and get measured every time you buy new shoes. If one foot is larger or wider than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.


Stand in the shoes. Make sure you have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.


Walk around in the shoes to determine how they feel. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Don’t rationalize that the shoes just need to be “broken in” or that they’ll stretch with time. Find shoes that fit from the start.


Trust your own comfort level rather than a shoe’s size or description. Sizes vary from one manufacturer to another. And no matter how comfortable an advertisement claims those shoes are, you’re the real judge.


Feel the inside of the shoes to see if they have any tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your feet or cause blisters.


Turn the shoes over and examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to provide protection from sharp objects? Do they provide any cushioning? Also, take the sole test as you walk around the shoe store: do the soles cushion against impact? Try to walk on hard surfaces as well as carpet to see how the shoes feel.


(Healthbeat, 11/7/13)





Ouma en haar kleinseun loop rond in die winkels.
Ouma: "Diploma, bring vir my die suiker en sit neer daai pak lekkers."
Kassier: "Is daai kind se naam rêrig Diploma, Tannie ?
Ouma: "Ja dit is."
Kassier: "Hoekom noem julle hom Diploma ?

Ouma: "Want ek het my dogter kollege toe gestuur en dit is wat sy teruggebring het huistoe."


Better sleep, naturally

The world looks very different at 3 a.m. when you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling or the clock. “How will I make it through tomorrow without any sleep?” you worry. If you regularly can’t get to sleep — or stay asleep — and it’s affecting you during the day, then you may have insomnia. 

Prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids can help you drift off, but these drugs also have side effects. These include morning drowsiness, which can make activities like driving or using machinery dangerous, and an increased risk for falling. There are other ways to get a good night’s sleep than medications.

Try simple lifestyle changes, recommends Dr. Hadine Joffe, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Two good ones to start with include avoiding caffeine and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. If these steps don’t help, it’s worth a call to your doctor to see if a medical condition — such as thyroid problems, anemia, sleep apnea, menopausal hot flashes, heartburn, incontinence, or depression — are affecting the quality or the quantity of your sleep. Treating the health problem may take care of the sleep problem.

The guide below can help you establish a sleep routine to promote restful nights.

Your Daily Sleep Guide
This morning-to-evening, sleep-promoting schedule may help you get the rest you need



7:00 a.m.

Wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.

8:00 a.m.

Limit yourself to just one cup of caffeinated coffee at breakfast, or drink decaf. Too much caffeine in the morning can stay with you until bedtime. (If you’re used to drinking several cups of coffee a day, wean yourself off it gradually over a few weeks.)

9:00 a.m.

Get outside for a 30 minute walk. Both exercise and morning sunlight can help you sleep better.



6:00 p.m.

Eat a light dinner. A heavy meal can lead to heartburn, which can keep you awake. Avoid caffeinated tea, coffee, and soda, as well as alcohol and chocolate.

9:15 p.m.

Turn off your TV, computer, cell phone, and tablet device at least 30 minutes before bed. They stimulate the brain. Read a book (not on a tablet), take a warm bath, or listen to soft music to help your body and mind unwind before bed.

9:45 p.m.

Get your bedroom ready for sleep. Dim the lights, close the curtains, make sure the temperature is cool and comfortable, and cover your alarm clock so you can’t see the time if you do wake up in the middle of the night.

10:00 p.m.

Use the bathroom.

10:15 p.m.

Lights out. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you can’t fall asleep in 15 minutes, leave the bedroom. Sit somewhere quiet, like the couch, and read a book for 15-20 minutes or until you get sleepy. Then go back to bed.



(Harvard healthbeat, 13/7/13)




Die kinders ontdek 'n ou tikmasjien in die huis, en die pa
moet verduidelik. Hy sit 'n vel papier in en tik. Hulle is
"Waar prop jy hom in?"
"Nee, jy prop hom nie in nie."
"Waar is sy batterye?"
"Nee, hy het nie batterye nie."
"Heng, hoekom het hulle dit nie al lankal uitgevind nie?"




What do you think its thinking??????







Fat, sick and sad South Africans

7 Aug 2013  

Two-thirds of women in South Africa are overweight or obese; the country's preschool children are among the fattest in the world and a quarter of adults eat too much sugar and fat. However, most South Africans thnik they are pretty healthy.

altResults of the first SA National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, released on Tuesday (6 August), paint a picture of a country at serious risk of diabetes, strokes, heart attacks and some cancers.

The Human Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council conducted an extensive research study for the first time to record the epidemic of non-infectious or non-communicable [lifestyle] diseases and evaluate the state of health in South Africa.

More than 250,00 people were surveyed last year and blood taken from 8,078 of them and tested for "biomarkers" of diseases.

Previous surveys have looked at specific aspects of health but this one gives a comprehensive picture of South Africa's health.

The findings include:

  • The waists of six out of 10 women older than 50 are 88cm or more (an extra-large size), which puts them at "significant" risk of lifestyle disease, but a third of children report having no food to take to school;
  • 22% of children aged between two and five are overweight or obese. The figure is 12% in the US;
  • In the homes of 33.9% of those aged 10 to 14 there is no food for breakfast;
  • 18.3% of children have no one to help them make a packed lunch for school;
  • One in two women and one in three men under the age of 40 failed a fitness test in which they had to run up and down a step;
  • One in four households goes to bed hungry.

The findings were not all doom and gloom. Participants were asked about their perception of the health system and 96.8% said they received care when they needed it. Only 9% reported shortages of medicine.

South Africans know they are overweight. Most perceive themselves as fat, with less than a quarter thinking they are a normal weight. However, most people said they were in good health, with only 5.1% reporting bad health.

Not actually healthy

The HSRC says the population is not as healthy as it might believe because many might not have been diagnosed with disease or post-traumatic stress disorder. One in 10 people suffer from the mental condition caused by trauma or exposure to violence.

The chief executive of the HSRC, Professor Olive Shisana, called mental illness the Cinderella disease in the country. She called for better screening of people when they went to a hospital or clinic.

The council said the serious shortage of mental health professionals also needed to be tackled.

Speaking at the release of the report in Pretoria, HSRC professor Demetre Labadarious praised the food fortification programme, which includes the addition of iron and vitamins to maize. He said anaemia rates had decreased in recent years.

Food security had increased from 25% of all households to 45.6% of them. "The increase from 1998 was significant. It tells us a powerful story," Labadarious said.

Smoking, too, has declined, from 32% of adults in 1993 to 16.4% in 2012.

The HSRC praised stricter government regulations for this decline and called for a ban on smoking in public places, which has been introduced in draft regulation but not yet signed into law. Almost half of all smokers told researchers that warning labels on cigarette packs made them think about quitting.

The survey found that 17% of households perceived alcohol abuse as a problem and the HSRC said it was behind the health minister's call for a ban on alcohol advertising.

Source: The Times via I-Net Bridge





Three blokes from Brakpan were working up on a cell phone tower - Frik, Piet and Koos.

As they start their descent Frik slips and falls off the tower and is killed instantly.

As the ambulance takes the body away, Piet says, "Well, damn, someone should go and tell his wife." ...

Koos says, "OK, I'm pretty good at that sensitive stuff, I'll do it."

Two hours later, he comes back carrying a case of Castle.

Piet says, "Where did you get that beer, Koos?"

"Frik's wife gave it to me," Koos replies.

"That's unbelievable, you told the lady her husband was dead and she gave you beer?"

Well, not exactly", Koos says. "When she answered the door, I said to her, you must be Frik's widow'."

She said, "You must be mistaken, I'm not a widow."

Then I said "I'll bet you a case of Castle you are."






Ways to become "mindful"

Learning to focus the mind can be a powerful antidote to the stresses and strains of our on-the-go lives. The ability to pay attention to what you're experiencing from moment to moment — without drifting into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future, or getting caught up in opinions about what is going on — is called mindfulness.

This basic mindfulness meditation exercise is easy to learn and practice.

  1. Sit on a straight-backed chair, or cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  3. Once you've narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas.
  4. Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it as good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

The effects of mindfulness meditation tend to be dose-related — the more you practice it, the more benefits you usually experience.

A less formal approach can also help you stay in the present and fully engage in your life. You can practice mindfulness at any time or during any task, whether you are eating, showering, walking, touching a partner, or playing with a child. Here's how:

  • Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body.
  • Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air to move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then breathe out through your mouth. Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.
  • Proceed with the task at hand slowly and with full deliberation.
  • Engage your senses fully. Notice each sight, touch, and sound so that you savor every sensation.
  • When you notice that your mind has wandered from the task at hand, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the moment.


(Harvard Healthbeat, 22 February 2014)