World Health Day: How do you fare up this World Health Day?

We get so easily concerned with every day-things, from work to our finances, but often neglect our most important asset – our health. How often do you go for a check-up, or do you wait until that nagging pain or chronic cough becomes much worse and then seek an instant remedy? Today, 7 April, is World Health Day and it should really serve as a reminder to each of us that our health is our real wealth, says Karin Claassen, Marketing Manager at Momentum Health. With today being World Health Day, the big question is “How do you fare up this World Health Day?”

An annual health assessment takes only a few minutes and can be done at most pharmacy clinics these days. It comprises a finger prick to test your blood sugar and cholesterol, and measuring of waist circumference, weight, height and blood pressure – tests that can help you identify early onset of potential life-threatening lifestyle related conditions. And the best part, says Claassen, is that more medical schemes now are paying for these assessments from the scheme benefits.

Lifestyle related conditions, like hypertension and diabetes can often be avoided by adopting a healthier, more active lifestyle. And the earlier this is adopted the better as we tend to maintain habits formed at an earlier age. Dr Albert Viljoen, Group Product Manager at Hello Doctor, shares the alarming statistics in terms of obesity in children that is on the rise. “Prevalence of overweight and obesity has  increased in children and adolescents in developing countries, from 8.1% to 12.9% in 2013 for boys; and from 8.4% to 13.4% in girls,*”.

“We can prevent these by making the necessary lifestyle changes which includes following a healthy diet, reducing stressors, getting enough sleep, doing exercise, and getting our body to its ideal weight,” explains Viljoen.

In 2013, the Heart and Stroke Foundation estimated that 6.3-million people in South Africa suffer from high blood pressure. According to the Foundation, an average of 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes occur every day in South Africa.  “These are alarming statistics for a disease that can be avoided,” exclaims Viljoen.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 60% of kidney failure in the country is caused by high blood pressure and 20% to 25% is due to type 2 diabetes. These too are lifestyle related diseases.

By doing regular health assessments and testing your blood and BMI, doctors can easily pick up if there are any problem areas in your system. “By doing regular checks and keeping your medical records up to date, both patient and medical examiner can plan ahead and tackle medical issues before they get out of hand. So instead of being afraid of what your health assessment will uncover, take charge this World Health Day because early detection may save your life,” Says Dr Viljoen.

In an endeavour to create a happier and healthier South Africa, Momentum Health challenges all South Africans to take control of their health this World Health day and urges South Africans to get fit as a first step in their journey toward wellness.  “We’re also hosting our second Momentum Health OatWell DualX duathlon for 2016, in Gauteng this coming Saturday. This popular off-road Run-Bike-Run series, is a great example of an opportunity for individuals and families to get stay active and have fun together, all whilst improving their health. Health is your greatest asset and goes a long way to being financially well,” concludes Claassen.

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Source:  * The Lancet Volume 384, Issue 9945, 30 August–5 September 2014, Pages 766–781: