When Marie-Justine Uwizeye weighed 150kgs she suffered from hypertension until she joined Slim n' Fit, a weight loss program, and lost 42kgs that her health returned to normal.
Louise Ingabire, last year, developed complications with breathing and fatigue. It was not until she developed chronic cough that she went for check-up and was diagnosed with heart disease by Team Heart.
"Some heart problems are not as a result of obesity like many people think. People should listen to their bodies and go for regular check-up, live a healthy lifestyle and exercise," she said.
This was the message put across, as Rwanda celebrated the World Heart Day, themed "Using our Hearts to fight heart diseases."
Francois Uwinkindi, head of Non-Communicable Diseases division at Rwanda Biomedical Center highlighted that lack of physical exercise, poor diet and excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco smoking are the leading reasons for heart problems.
"Reducing chances of heart disease through sports is hard work but it's also possible. Having a mindset to maintain a healthy heart through healthy living will ensure that it is routinely done in our homes. Exercising the muscle and bones is exercising other body organs because fighting heart disease is also fighting other NCDs like diabetes, he said.
The medic added that people with heart disease and its risk factors are more vulnerable to severe forms of COVID-19, The pandemic, he said, has shone a spotlight on the healthcare profession and individual responsibilities.
"Rwanda's early efforts to combat NCDs, through encouraging regular sports and campaigns that promote early checkups, has enabled the fight against COVID-19. As such we are still ensuring that early testing and access medication is maintained to combat it further," he said.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is one of the leading killer disease, causing 17.9 million deaths worldwide, according to WHO.
In Rwanda, around 40 per cent of deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with 14.1 percent of the NCDs being heart disease.
The triggers, which manifest primarily as heart attacks and strokes, are tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. These in turn show up in people as raised blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity.
World Heart Day is celebrated worldwide, on September 29, of every year. The campaign that was launched today, however, concluded the fourth season of 90 days weight loss challenge by SlimnFit, a weight loss program. The winner, Catherine Kekoch, lost 20 kilograms.