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Assess your heart health this Heart Awareness Month and gain peace of mind

25 October 2021 Momentum Multiply

According to Momentum’s claims statistics for 2020, cardiovascular disease was one of the main reasons for death claims last year – with around 28% of last year’s death claims being paid out to the families of individuals who died as a result of this condition. What’s more, cardiovascular disease, particularly heart failure, was also identified as the leading cause of death among male policyholders.

Philip Marais, Senior Health Specialist at Momentum Multiply, Incentivised Wellness, states that South Africans should take this time to reflect on the state of their own cardiovascular health. “Not only was cardiovascular disease one of the biggest causes for death claims, but it was also the second-largest reason for critical illness claims in 2020. Around 24% of critical illness claims resulted from this, meaning that it was one of the most prominent causes of severe life-changing conditions among Momentum’s policyholders – second only to cancer at 45% of claims.”

Marais adds that the data that Momentum Multiply normally collects regarding its members’ heart health throughout the last year, has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. “During the first Level 5 lockdown we could not get any health assessments for our members from our usual channels. During the first lockdown, we extended the expiry date for all members who had a Healthy Heart Score (HHS) on file and allowed members to submit their HHS as soon as the facilities reopened. We also allowed for home health assessments via visits during this time for over 60s and high-risk members, using our health professionals network.”

Even with those measures, Marais says that health data collections reduced by nearly 80% during the first lockdown. “We’ve seen that member behaviour is strongly influenced by anxiety associated with the seasonality of the coronavirus pandemic. With every wave of Covid-19 infections and increased lockdown restrictions, we experience more resistance by members to go for their annual health assessment.”

However, he stresses that a regular assessment of heart health is something that more South Africans should take seriously. “The truth is that a Healthy Heart Score is an annual report card that shows the trajectory of the health impact of your lifestyle. It’s worth knowing whether your blood pressure is going up or staying stable – even if it seems normal right now. Also, you have to keep track of whether your blood glucose is going up over time since that is associated with an increased risk of developing type II diabetes.”

With this in mind, Marais urges all South Africans to start keeping track of the key variables that determine their overall heart health. “Your smoking habits, body fat percentage, total cholesterol, fasting or random blood glucose, and blood pressure are all incredibly important pieces of information that you should be recording throughout your life.”

He adds that this information will help you make better lifestyle choices that ensures a longer and healthier life in the years to come. “It’s true that making lifestyle changes is a complex and difficult process, but you may well find that keeping track of your heart health could indeed help you to make the right choices and changes. Maintaining your heart health is a long-term commitment, and there’s no time like the present to start doing it right,” Marais concludes.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

The second draft amendments to Regulation 28 will allow retirement funds to allocate up to 45% of their assets to SA infrastructure, with a further 10% for rest of Africa; but the equity & offshore caps remain unchanged. What are your thoughts on the proposal?

ANSWER

Infrastructure? You mean cash returns with higher risk!?!
Infrastructure cap is way too high
Offshore limit still needs to be raised
Who cares… Reg 28 does not apply to discretionary savings
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