Sunday, February 5, 2017
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK, which is why the British Heart Foundation have made February Heart Health awareness month. In a bid to tackle one of the countries biggest killers, they are encouraging people to make small changes to their lifestyles, to improve health and reduce heart disease.
We've taken a look at some of the small steps you can take towards living with a healthier heart, as well as taking a look at risk factors to be aware of:
One of the most significant factors contributing to heart disease is being overweight. By maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring that your diet is balanced, you will reduce the risks associated with heart disease. A healthy diet should consist of a variety of fruit and vegetables, and benefits from reduced consumption of saturated fats - these are the fats that can contribute to high cholesterol. You can find out if you are in a healthy weight range by using the NHS BMI calculator.
In order to maintain an optimimum weight you must combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. Keeping active keeps your arteries in better condition, as it encouages good blood flow which lowers your blood pressure, ultimately putting less strain on your heart. If you are worried about where to get started with exercise, begin with something small and low impact. Setting realistic goals will help you to achieve a fitter lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed. Start by incorporating small changes, such as walking for 30 minutes a day, or by trying to achieve a certain number of steps on your pedometer. If you feel like you want a bigger change, try replacing your car drive to work with cycling.
Not only does alcohol cause you to put on weight (remember it's high in calories!), it can also cause more serious health issues which can contribute towards raising your risk of heart disease. Alcohol consumption can cause high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, ultimately causing damage to the heart. Be mindful of recommended intake levels and remember that both men and women should not consume more than 14 units of alcohol each week.
According to the NHS, one of the main causes of coronary heart disease is smoking. If you are a smoker you are at a much higher risk of suffering from heart disease, so why not make this February your opportunity to quit? There are a range of Stop Smoking services available. Did you know that after giving up smoking for just one year, it has been reported that your risk of having a heart attack reduces by 50%?