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These factors could be taking a toll on your heart

by , 02 July 2013

Former South African president FW de Klerk (77) will be admitted to a Cape Town hospital today after suffering heart problems, eNCA.com, reported. According to the report, the former statesman is expected to undergo surgery to install a pacemaker. This, after experiencing dizzy spells. The former president's ill health has certainly put attention on the importance of heart health. Read on to find out which factors may be taking a toll on your heart.

De Klerk’s spokesperson told eNCA.com that the procedure was routine and didn’t require general anaesthetic to be fitted and he’s expected to be discharged by Wednesday morning.

A pacemaker is a small device, that’s placed under the skin near your heart to help control your heartbeat, explains the Mayo Clinic.

The former president’s illness comes in the backdrop of former president Nelson Mandela’s hospitalisation for a recurring lung infection which has seen him spend more than three weeks in hospital. The presidency says he’s still ‘critical, but stable’.

Ironically, according to media reports, De Klerk cut short his European trip because of Mandela’s deteriorating health, whom he shared a Nobel Peace prize with in 1993 for his role in the ending of apartheid.

While the former president prepares to undergo his procedure, it may be good for you to take steps to better your heart health. Especially considering that an estimated 17 million people die of cardiovascular disease (CVDs), particularly heart attacks and strokes every year.

Help slow heart disease by being mindful of the factors that could take a toll on your heart

According to Dr Mark Stengler of Health Revelations, high stress levels caused by your job are deadly. The strain could be more that what your heart could handle.

“One new analysis of thirteen studies finds that ‘job strain’ or stress from a poor work environment or a lousy boss can boost your risk of a heart attack and death from coronary artery disease by 23%,” says Dr Stengler.

So if you think your job is a health risk, the words ‘I quit’ could save you from a heart attack.

According to researchers, because so many people battle this kind of stress each day, eliminating it completely would actually reduce the number of first coronary events such as a heart attack by 3.4%.

But, it’s not only your job that can be a source of stress in your life. Be mindful of other factors that may be taking a toll on your heart.

“Eliminating smoking, by comparison, would wipe out more than a third of all first coronary events, so if you smoke, your job isn't the only thing you should quit,” says Dr Stengler.

In addition, watch your general stress levels.

Some researchers say it’s important to learn how to recognise when your stress levels are out of control, because the most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll on your heart.

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