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School’s out for summer!


But don’t kill the vibe with overindulgence


Do you feel like a school kid, waiting for that final bell to ring heralding the official end of the school year and your escape to the freedom that is the summer holidays? We hear ya!


And just like the kids, all you need to worry about for the next 4 weeks is what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink and where you’re going to put your feet up for that long-overdue afternoon snoozzze.


Indulgence may be the name of the game at this time of the year, but a little note to self: as tempting as it is, don’t overindulge. Going back for that second helping of roast beef with all the trimmings, extra-large bowl of trifle or third glass of bubbly could be more dangerous than you think.


Christmas Day the danger day


It’s a known fact that heart attacks spike over the holiday season. According to Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, a research study from the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University shows heart attacks and heart failures peak on Christmas Day (25 December), the day after (26 December) and New Year’s Day (1 January).


Overindulging in smoking, drinking and fatty and sugary foods are major factors thought to contribute to this trend along with increased stress and inactivity. The foundation says weight gain and increased salt intake – common occurrences during the holidays – could also increase the strain on the heart.


“After a long, stressful year the tendency is to just let go and enjoy the indulgences of the festive season. But this can have lasting and very serious consequences,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation SA CEO, Dr Vash Mungal-Singh.


People with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and those who are overweight, obese or have heart disease, are most at risk of heart attack and heart failure and advised to take it easy during the holidays.


Watch what you eat and get active!


If you’re not a high-risk candidate for heart attacks and want to keep it that way this holiday, reduce your red meat intake (eat more chicken, turkey and fish); increase your fresh vegetable and fruit intake; limit fatty, sugary and salty foods; don’t smoke (not even water pipes) and limit your alcohol intake (to just a drink or two per day).


You should also aim to increase your physical activity during the holidays; halve the hours you spend lazing in the hammock and replace them with a brisk walk (on the beach, around your complex or around your block) or a game on the lawn with the kids. Volleyball, soccer and badminton are great family games that are good for your heart and good for a laugh!


Life insurance cover up to date?


Given this increase in heart-related health incidents over the holidays, why not use your spare time this December to make sure your critical illness cover is up to date?


Our 3 critical illness benefits cover a range of heart events: mild and moderate heart attacks and coronary artery bypass grafts are catered for under our Basic, Core and Comprehensive Critical Illness benefits, while a variety of heart surgeries are covered under our Core and Comprehensive benefits.


From all of us at Altrisk, we wish you a safe, happy and above all, healthy, festive season.

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