Killer habits eat black lives

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Black South African men are increasingly at risk of heart failure.

Recent research by the cardiovascular research unit at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital shows that ever more black males are in danger of suffering from heart failure.

Karen Sliwa-Hahnle, a professor at the research unit, said the report showed that about 30percent of patients screened at the hospital during the study were at risk of some form of heart disease.

The report also indicated that heart disease no longer affected only older men, but younger ones as well.

Sliwa-Hahnle said unhealthy lifestyles made heart failure one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among black South Africans.

"The study has proved that. The reason for this seems to be the adoption of a Western diet by South Africans.

"Instead of eating high-fibre foods and carbohydrates, they are turning to fast-foods, which give them an increased fat and sugar intake.

"This places an enormous burden on the healthcare system in urban areas," she said.

According to the report, heart disease kills someone every 12 minutes in South Africa.

In the black community, 80percent of those at risk have raised blood cholesterol, and 20percent of this group have cholesterol levels that put them at high risk of developing heart disease.