our Work

Kenyan-Heart is busy working towards excellent heart health for as many people as we can reach.

News & Events
Keep up with important Kenyan-Heart happenings

Kenyan-Heart partners with UEFA and WHF to "Make a Healthy Heart your Goal"!

Kenyan-Heart National Foundation (KHNF) through World Heart Federation (WHF) was privileged to be granted the mandate by UEFA, to run the initiative “Make a Healthy Heart your Goal” with a special focus on Girls and the youth in Kenya. It is a FIRST in East Africa.

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June / 2014

  • - Analysis exercise of Strep Sore Throat (SST) Data from participating clinics in collaboration with intern Dr. David Philpott from University of Texas.

July / 2014

  • - WHF/UEFA funded Football Tournament on Saturday 12th July 2014.
  • - Conclusion of the data collection phase of the Nutrition Research at Westlands Primary School.

September / 2014

  • - September, the "Heart Month": Activities for creating awareness on Heart Disease Prevention.
  • - World Heart Day-2014 (WHD) Celebrations Activities on Saturday, 20th September 2014.

Calendar of Activities »

Get in touch
Phone, fax, e-mail

Address: Kenyan-Heart National Foundation (KHNF), Viking House, 3rd Floor, Westlands  Waiyaki Way, Opposite CBA
P.O. Box: 59178 - 00200, Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone: +254 2 4452214 / 3005084
Mobile: +254 729 625741 and +254 735408784
FAX: +254 2 44522141
E-mail: info@kenyanheart.or.ke


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Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Kenyan-Heart at work


What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Blood Pressure Screening during one of the many Kenyan-Heart events.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is any disease which affects the Heart & Blood Vessels.
Who is at Risk of Acquiring CVD?
People suffering from:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco Smoking

Know More about the Risks

How can I reduce my risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

Making changes in your lifestyle can have major effects on reducing your risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Knowing about risk factors – how they affect your health & how they increase your risk – may help make the lifestyle changes & can help you feel more in control of your heart health.

  1. Make appropriate life-style changes e.g. Stop smoking, Exercise regularly, Limit salt intake
  2. Know the risk factors.
  3. Have an Annual medical check–up.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE / Hypertension: (high pressure within the arteries)

High Blood Pressure is often known as the silent killer, because in most people there are no visible symptoms. It occurs when the Pressure of blood flowing through the arteries is abnormally high. Blood Pressure (BP) is expressed as pressure in arteries during heart contraction (Systolic) over pressure during heart relaxation (Diastolic) e.g. Normal BP range is <120/80 to 129/84,

The Normal target for the general population is to have a Blood Pressure ranging between 120/80 to 129/84 mm Hg; the Abnormal range is 140/90 to 159/99 mm Hg for Mild Hypertension, Moderate 160/100 to 179/109 mm Hg, Severe >180/110 mm Hg

How High Blood Pressure affects the Heart:

  • High Blood Pressure increases the workload of the Heart causing the heart muscle to thicken & arteries to stretch.
  • Hypertension if left untreated can lead to Heart attack, Stroke, Kidney Failure & Eye Damage (glaucoma, blindness).
  • The Heart becomes weak, less efficient leading to Heart Failure because of increased workload.

What causes High Blood Pressure?
In most people, there’s no definite cause of High Blood Pressure. The following factors can however contribute:

  • Family history of High Blood Pressure
  • Being Overweight (especially around the stomach area)
  • Unhealthy diet, including excessive intake of salt
  • Stress
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Kidney Disease
  • Smoking

What you can do:

  • Eat more fruits & vegetables
  • Keep to a healthy weight
  • Limitation of salt intake
  • Regular exercise etc


Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the body cells. It plays an important role in body cells & hormones. It is manufactured by the body, but can also be derived from the diet. When dietary intake is high, the body decreases manufacture.

There are two main types of cholesterol:

  • LDL (low-density lipoproteins) is the harmful type of cholesterol.
  • HDL (high-density lipoproteins) a protective type of cholesterol.

Having too much harmful Cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for Heart Disease because excess amounts are deposited in the walls of the arteries. The arteries are narrowed & the restricted blood flow to the Heart & other areas of the body may encourage formation of a Clot. The Clot may cause blockage of Blood flow in an artery in the brain which may cause a Stroke. In the heart, the blockage causes a Heart Attack.

Risk factors:

  • Genetics: family history of high cholesterol.
  • Age: heart attacks due to clogged arteries tend to occur after 30
  • Gender: women have lower blood cholesterol than men before menopause, blood cholesterols also rise during pregnancy
  • Diet: eating foods high in saturated fats
  • Weight: overweight people tend to have higher LDL & lower HDL
  • Lack of exercise: exercise helps control weight & give high HDL levels
  • Smoking: leads to increased cholesterol levels

What you can do:

  1. Dietary changes
    • Reduction of fat intake & replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats & polyunsaturated fats.
    • Using less salt
    • Increasing fiber intake (legumes, cereals, fruits, vegetables).
    • Increase white meat intake (fish, chicken), reduce intake of foods with cholesterol (egg yolk, fatty meat).
    • Avoid/limit alcohol intake
  2. Regular physical activity: helps increase HDL (the ‘protective’ type of cholesterol)
  3. Drugs & Medication if prescribed by your doctor:Cholesterol-lowering drugs for people who have an overall high risk of CVD


Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the insulin does not work properly.

There are two types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: The body cannot make any insulin. It is common in children & young adults.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Occurs when not enough insulin is produced, or when the insulin made in the body doesn’t work properly. It is linked with a lack of physical activity & being overweight & is more common in older people & those with a family history of diabetes.

What increases the Risk of Diabetes?

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family History of Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure

Symptoms of Diabetes:

  • Constant thirst & hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue & drowsiness
  • Skin infections due to slow wound healing etc.

How Diabetes affects the heart:
Constant high blood sugar is associated with narrowing of arteries, high blood pressure, decreased levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol & Heart attack. Diabetics are more prone to formation of Blood clots.

Complications that can arise due to Diabetes:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Blindness due to eye damage
  3. Stroke
  4. Kidney failure
  5. Feet infections

Steps to Prevent Diabetes:

  • Eating a well balanced low fat, low sugar & high fiber diet with a lot of vegetables & fruits
  • Controlling size of meals
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoiding tobacco smoking, drinking alcohol


Smoking is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease. People who smoke are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as people who have never smoked. If you are a smoker, stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to reduce your risk of having a heart attack while increasing your chances of living longer.

How Smoking affects the Heart.
The Carbon monoxide in Cigarette smoke reduces the amount of Oxygen the blood can carry to the heart & around the body. Smoking causes heart disease by;

  • Increasing blood pressure
  • Increasing tendency to form clots.
  • Reducing oxygen levels in the blood.

Passive or Second hand Smoking: non-smokers inhale other people’s smoke. Non-smokers who live with smokers have a greater risk of heart disease than those who don’t live with smokers. Second hand smoke contains 5 times more Carbon Monoxide & 6 times more nicotine than that of first hand smoke which passes through a filter.

In children second hand smoke causes problems such as:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections etc

Smoking & the Unborn Baby:
Babies exposed to second hand smoke or born to mothers who smoked while pregnant tend to be underweight & are more at risk of:

  • Miscarriage or being born premature
  • Sudden Infant Death
  • Developing Lung Disease & Diabetes later in life

Steps to reduce the Risk:

  • The most important step is to quit smoking completely
  • Quitting reduces risk of CVD & Reverses the harmful effects of smoking on the lungs, blood circulation, nervous system and the Heart
  • Within 5 – 15 years of quitting, the risk of Heart Disease is reduced to that of a Non-smoker


The Heart is a muscle that needs exercise to stay fit & healthy. Lack of Physical activity is a major risk factor for Heart Disease & High Blood Pressure. Inactive People are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack & three times as likely to die after such an attack compared to those who exercise regularly.

Exercise has other Health benefits: Long-term benefits include a decrease in the risk of Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes & Heart Disease. The Heart muscle of someone who exercises stays more fit & healthy;

  • Prevents Chronic Diseases associated with age.
  • Promotes the reduction/control of body weight
  • Reduces stress & gives a feeling of well being
  • Establishes good heart healthy habits in children
  • Helps manage & Control Cholesterol levels;
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Important in the management of diabetes.

Some Tips on Exercise:

  • Schedule exercise for a particular time during the day
  • Choose an enjoyable & sustainable form of exercise
  • Older people should seek medical advice before starting an exercise program
  • Keep track of progress by recording changes in body measurements & weight as you undertake your exercise program.
  • Beneficial Physical Activities can include walking, dancing, gardening, cycling, swimming, climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift & the usual daily chores
  • 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 3 times per week is highly recommended.


Obesity is the accumulation of excess body fat resulting from eating foods high in calories such as fatty foods, sweet foods or sugary drinks, the extra calories the body does not burn up are stored as fat. Too much of this fat results in putting on weight.
People who carry too much weight around their middle have a greater risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure & Diabetes. Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease or risk factors of Heart Disease such as High Blood Pressure, High Blood Cholesterol & Diabetes.
If you already have Diabetes, controlling your weight will help keep your diabetes under control.

Symptoms of Obesity: Shortness of Breath, Acne, Joint & Back pains


  • Diet high in calories, fat & little fiber
  • Physical Inactivity due to sedentary lifestyle through watching television, use of cars, remote controls etc.
  • Genes – which influence metabolic rate & appetite
  • Factors such as Pregnancy, Menopause, Aging, use of certain drugs, Eating & hormonal Disorders.

What you can do to Control Obesity & Reduce waist size:

  • Change of diet to reduce calorie intake & increase fibre, lean protein etc
  • Physical Activity to include exercise & lifestyle activities
  • Weight loss drugs in combination with exercise, diet & behaviour change

What do we do?
Below is a preview of some of our work


Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Risk Factors Prevention
Are you at risk? Find out more about this critical issue.
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Read some interesting Kenyan-Heart material.
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World Heart Day
Kenyan-Heart joins other countries around the world in marking World Heart Day every September.
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Rheumatic Heart Disease Prevention Program
Kenyan-Heart's CORE business is the Prevention of Heart Diseases and in particular Rheumatic Heart Disease.
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Talking Walls
The “Kenyan-Heart Talking Walls” are Yet another tool for imparting knowledge & information on How to Prevent Rheumatic Heart Disease.
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Kenyan-Heart Clubs
Kenyan-Heart Clubs showcase their Creative activities with the aim of Spreading the Message of Rheumatic Heart Disease Prevention.
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Local Committees Involvement
Kenyan-Heart Selects Leaders of various Groups right from the Grassroot & Educates them... once Empowered with this knowledge (they) are able to now Reach others from their Communities
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Treatment Program
For some prevention is no longer an option. For those who require urgent medical intervention, Kenyan-Heart makes an effort to assist needy patients access treatment.
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