According to the British Heart Foundation, a quarter of all deaths in the UK are heat and circulatory related. There are also approximately 7.5 million people living heart or circulatory disease in the UK.
Now, we’re not trying to scare you, but heart health is something we should all be taking seriously. Our heart is the centre of what keeps us going, beathing around 110,000 times each day. The heart carries blood, oxygen and nutrients around our body, as well as carrying unwanted carbon dioxide and waste products away.
Clearly, the heart is important to us and is one of the key things keeping us alive. So, how do we give it a helping hand? Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy.
Often thought of solely as a bad thing, cholesterol is essential for our body. It gets a bad reputation ad ‘bad cholesterol’ can stick to our artery walls and create blockages.
There are two main types of cholesterol. High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): known as the good cholesterol. Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL): known as the bad cholesterol. It’s certainly worth familiarising yourself with the difference between the two and checking your cholesterol.
Along with cholesterol, blood pressure is another indicator of potential heart issues. Your blood pressure is the amount of pressure your blood has on the walls of your arteries as it is pumped through you body by your heart. High blood pressure that continues over time is a major risk factor for heart disease and increases as you age. A blood pressure monitor is an easy way to keep an eye on your blood pressure and readily available on the internet.
Like with most things health related a well balanced diet can help keep your heart healthy. Reducing fatty foods and reducing salt are the most recommended things to reduce. While eating plenty of fruit and vegetables along with eating whole grains and oily fish are seen as heart friendlier foods.
Partaking in regular exercise can reduce your risk of a heart attack and heart disease. It’s also a way to help control cholesterol, blood pressure and keep your weight down, all of which are heart risks.
In terms of exercise whatever you prefer doing is fine. That could be walking, cycling or lifting weights. It’s suggested that adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. If you’re new to exercise start steady and build up to it, a brisk walk is a good place to start. Aim to walk a bit further as you build up and then look to move on to more intense exercise.
The risks of smoking are well known by now, so we don’t need to list all the issues it may cause. Nevertheless, if you are worried about your heart health and still smoke, now might be the time to give it up. There are plenty of aids to help you quit smoking and there is plenty of support out there. The first thing to do is try.
Here are five ways you can monitor your heart health and try to keep it healthy. If you are having any discomfort around your heart or have history of heart disease in your family it’s worth speaking to your doctor.