Cardiovascular disease in South Africa

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels, is often associated with the accumulation of fatty deposits inside arteries. CVD is a leading contributor to disability and death worldwide.

In South Africa, where 68 % of women and 31 % of men are overweight or obese, death rates for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which includes CVD, are now higher than those of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined.

Two of the most frequent forms of CVD in South African adults, aged 25-65+, are ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. Ischaemic heart disease and stroke share risk factors and a common mechanism – both result from a narrowing of blood vessels resulting in an ‘attack ‘ of the heart or brain, respectively. Risk factors for IHD are correlated: High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking obesity, and dyslipidaemia are all significant modifiable contributing factors to disease.

In April 2020, a study on 25 532 South African adults indicated a prevalence of CVD of 63,8 %. Further, 53,1 % of the 16 293 adults who reported CVD, suffered from dyslipidaemia/ hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol, is linked to the damage of arteries, and several studies demonstrate a direct relationship between cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and cardiovascular mortality and stroke. Unfortunately, many people with high cholesterol are unaware of their risk as the condition often lacks overt symptoms and is often referred to as the ‘silent killer ‘ .

The treatment of hypercholesterolaemia is the obvious course of action for the reduction of risk for CVD. Diet and lifestyle changes are recommended before treatment by pharmacotherapy; these changes include weight loss, increased physical activity, limited alcohol consumption, and the adoption of healthy dietary practices.

Human studies showed that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduced plasma triglyceride levels by 30-60 % in individuals with high triglycerides levels. Other interventions to lower cholesterol include the consumption of plant sterols. When used therapeutically, phytosterols have been shown to significantly lower serum cholesterol concentrations. Meta-analyses of clinical trials indicate, approximately, a 10 % reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol when phytosterols are consumed at the recommended dose.

While diet and lifestyle changes produce little or no adverse events, pharmacological treatments for hyperlipidaemia, of which statins are the most widely prescribed lipid-lowering drugs worldwide, produce adverse effects in up to 33 % of patients, some of the most well-known being muscle pain and joint ache.

Co-Enzyme Q10, a vitamin like substance and key component in cellular respiration, is shown to be depleted by statin use while deficiencies have been associated with multiple pathologic conditions. A reduction in serum and muscle tissue coenzyme Q10 levels may well play a role in statin-induced muscle pain. Given the potential benefit in treating statin-induced side-effects, such as muscle pain and joint ache, a course of Co-Enzyme Q10 may be recommended to those taking statins.

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Recommend one of the Vital products to support and maintain your customer ‘ s cardiovascular health:

Vital® Omega 3 Soft gelatine capsules:

  • Each capsule contains a 1000 mg high quality fish oil providing 160 mg Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and 104 mg Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).
  • Studies show that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduce plasma triglycerides and supports healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids not only help to maintain cardiovascular health but also supports cognitive health and brain function.
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Vital® Heart Health:

  • Consists out of a combination of vitamin and mineral ingredients combined with Co-Enzyme Q10 and plant sterols esters.
  • Plant sterol esters lower total cholesterol and LDL levels and therefore help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Vitamins B1, B6 and potassium contribute to the normal function of the heart, support healthy homocysteine levels and help to maintain normal blood pressure respectively.
  • Combined with the Co-Enzyme Q10 and vitamin K2, Vital Heart Health helps to maintain cardiovascular health.
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Vital® Co-Enzyme Q10:

  • Co-Enzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress by combatting damaging free radicals.
  • Co-Enzyme Q10 supports cardiovascular health and plays an important role in combating the side-effects caused by certain pharmacological treatments for high cholesterol.


[S0] Vital® Omega 3 soft gelatine capsules. Each soft gelatine capsule contains 1000 mg Fish oil providing 160 mg Eicosapentaenoic Acid and 104 mg Docosahexaenoic Acid; 5 µg Vitamin D3 and 3,4 mg α-TE Vitamin E. Health supplement. [S0] Vital® Co-Enzyme Q10 soft gelatine capsules. Each soft gelatine capsule contains 100 mg Co-Enzyme Q10 and 3,4 mg α-TE Vitamin E. Health supplement. [S0] Vital® Heart Healthsoft gelatine capsules. Each soft gelatine capsule contains 400 mg Plant sterol esters; 75 mg Potassium; 15 mg Co-Enzyme Q10; 1,2 mg Vitamin B6; 1,0 mg Vitamin B1 and 45 µg Vitamin K2. Health supplement. These unregistered medicines have not been evaluated by the SAHPRA for their quality, safety or intended use. APPLICANT: Vital Health Foods (Pty) Ltd, Reg. no.: 51/03081/07. Lavender Lane, Kuils River, 7580, South Africa. Tel no.: (+27) 21 900 2500. Refer to the detailed professional information (PI) for full prescribing information.