Rwandans have been urged to embrace health screening to know their health status, including body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholestral and blood glucose level, which are all associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
This was said as Rwanda joined the rest of the world to mark the World Heart Day, in Southern Province, Huye District on Friday.
The world Heart Day falls on September 29 annually.
This year, it was marked under the theme ‘power your life.’
The day was used to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases prevention.
It was also an opportunity to recommit to end the rising number of people suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
At least 80 per cent of people die annually cardiovascular diseases in low and middle class countries including Rwanda.
The Friday event was marked by a walk which started from University of Rwanda-Huye campus to University Teaching Hospital Butare, then across town.
It was mainly to engage the community in physical exercise and physical fitness test, as a way of showing them the importance of exercises in preventing CVD.
The event was attended by civil servants, Univesity students and health experts
According to Prof. Joseph Mucumbisti, a pediatrician, cardiologist and president of Rwanda Heart Foundation, the only way to evade this silent killer is through prevention.
“Prevention lie in changing of our lifestyle; for instance, cutting down the eating of processed and prepackaged foods which are often high in sugar and salt. Swap sugary treats for fresh fruits as a healthy alternative,” he said.
He added that one should also cut down on the amount of alcohol intake, and stay active to reduce the risks of heart diseases.
More than 300 people were screened on their level of cholestral, glucose, blood sugar and BMI free of charge.
It’s estimated that cholesterol is associated with around 4 million deaths around the world every year.
Ten out of the screened people above the age of 35 were found to be close to having CVD, while six of them were already having other related conditions of CVD, including high blood pressure and high glucose level.
Alphonsine Mukangango, 38, a resident of Mukura sector, Gisagara District, said she was shocked to find out that her results were close to the hypertension range.
“I just came across this event and decided to get screened too; I didn’t care about my health as I was physically okay. After getting counseling from the experts, I am going to follow the guidlines strictly as this has opened my eyes to be more careful about my lifestyle,” she said.