Healthy lifestyle can prevent heart disease

By Heeni Brown

Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in New Zealand and many of these deaths are premature and preventable.

Te Kāea spoke to Mona Mahu. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she has chosen a path in health promotion in the hope that her children and her grandchildren won't face the same fate.

It's a pain in her heart that can never mend and she's chosen "Heart Week" to share her story.

"Mum died of a heart attack when I was 18. I would've been about 28 when dad died and I was 40 when Wayne died," says Mahu.

Now, it's been more than 25 years spent without her mother, father and husband, all whom have been taken by heart disease.

Mona Mahu’s whānau and friend, Ted Marsh, had to change his whole way of eating after he had heart surgery 6 years ago.

"Turns out that my valve burst and I needed a replacement," says Marsh.

Both Mahu and Marsh share the same message and that's to promote a healthier lifestyle sooner rather than later.

"If I had eaten more moderately and hadn't been so wild and wooly, I think I would've been ok," sats Marsh.

Mahu says, "Maybe get your heart checked, try to stop smoking, start cutting back on the fizzy drinks, the sugar, the salt and the fat."

According to statistics, more than one New Zealander dies from heart disease every 90 minutes. That’s more than 6500 people dying from heart disease every year, which accounts for more than 30% of deaths annually.

Many of these deaths being premature and preventable, so we need to raise awareness.