Stroke Newsletter Autumn 2014 - silent killer
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%