Sunday, September 25, 2016
The human body is a biological marvel. Without us even having to think about it, we breathe, the blood pumps through our veins and our brain instructs our bodies how to think and react. In turn, our body gives us valuable warning signs that perhaps we’re doing too much and need a rest.
For example, we know when our brain is tired as we yawn and lose the ability to focus. But what about our hearts? Are we listening to what our heart is telling us and do our lifestyle choices have a hugely adverse effect on our heart health?
We’re going to be examining what effect our lifestyle has on our hearts, what signs we should be looking out for and the measures we should take to care for our hearts for the future.
Heart disease is becoming a significant problem in the UK, where too many of us are neglecting our heart health and ignoring the symptoms that we could be heading for serious trouble.
While family history and genetics can play a role in the development of heart disease and heart-related problems, it is, in fact, our lifestyle that is our best line of defence.
Making the right lifestyle choices can make an enormous difference in minimising the risks of developing heart problems in the future. It’s all too easy to forget how important it is to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle and avoid those common lifestyle mistakes.
These can include:
Poor diet – the food we put in our bodies and the amount can have a serious effect on our health. If you are eating too many fatty, sugary, salty foods full of saturated fats, trans-fats, and cholesterol, and not enough fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry and whole grains full of vitamins and minerals, you are adding to the risks of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. A poor diet also includes your intake of alcohol, which is full of calories and sugar and can raise your blood pressure.
No exercise – In order to control our weight and keep our heart in good condition, we need to stay active. Many people make the mistake of doing little or no exercise, and this drastically affects your heart health. Regular moderate-to-vigorous cardiovascular exercise will give your heart a proper workout and keep it fit and healthy. Plus, you will burn off fats and calories, helping to maintain a healthier weight, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
Poor sleep - You may not think about how sleep can affect your heart’s health, but, in fact, people who don’t have enough sleep feel more stressed and tired. This not only makes your heart work harder but can also go towards raising your blood pressure to an unhealthy level too. Try to get into a good sleep routine, ensuring you’re having between 6-8 hours a night. Sleep allows your body to recover and will help you feel more relaxed and better equipped to coping with stress.
Smoking – Smoking has major effects on your health beyond your heart, so give up the habit and encourage those around you to give it up too. It isn’t going to be easy, but cutting cigarettes out of your lifestyle will not only make your heart healthier; your lungs, skin and your whole body will feel healthier too.
Treatments – If you’re put on any form of medication related to your heart, make sure you follow the doctor or pharmacist’s directions. If you don’t follow the prescribed dosages, you could be putting your health at risk.
It’s these common lifestyle mistakes that can be controlled and changed by you. It’s your responsibility to make the right lifestyle decisions that will help you to lead a healthy and happy life. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, there are a number of natural supplements you can also take to improve your heart health, such as fish oil, garlic, CoEnzyme Q-10 and niacin.
You should also follow up your healthy lifestyle with regular health check-ups with your GP or heart specialist, to monitor your heart health. This is particularly important if you’re suffering from low or high blood pressure and/or high blood cholesterol, as these can play a significant role in how your heart functions.
By making the right decisions and being aware of any potential problems, you can adjust your lifestyle to improve your heart health, now and for the future. In addition, if you need medical guidance regarding your blood pressure or cholesterol, our dedicated GP is always here to help. Don't hesitate to get in touch.