5 ways to keep your heart healthy
Keeping your heart healthy, whatever your age, is the most important thing you can do to help prevent and manage heart disease.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death both in the UK and worldwide. Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease. You can do this by:
Eating a well balanced healthy diet
Check those food labels. Too much saturated fat, sugar and salt in products like cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, cereals and fizzy drinks, will increase your cholesterol, waistline and your risk of developing heart disease. Find out how much sugar is in your food and drink by scanning in your barcode to Change4life’s new Sugar Swap app.
Physical activity can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It can also help you control your weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and improve your mental health – helping you to look and feel great. If heading to the gym isn’t your thing there are still plenty of ways to get active. Find an exercise you enjoy as you’re more likely to stick to it. Or simply do things like take the stairs or walk the kids to school.
Drinking less alcohol
Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can have a harmful effect on your heart and general health. It can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, damage to your heart muscle and other diseases such as stroke, liver problems and some cancers. It’s all about moderation. Drink less than 14 units per week, limiting the amount you drink in any one session, to reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions. Download MyDrinkAware - an app to help you track what you’re drinking.
Stubbing out the cigarettes
If you’re a smoker, stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to protect the health of your heart. Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked. Stopping smoking has huge benefits and it’s never too late to give up. The good news is once you stop smoking your health improves and your body begins to recover. There is lots of help available to support you. Call the local Stop Smoking service on freephone 0800 376 56 55.
Getting a free midlife MOT
The NHS Health Check is for adults aged 40-74 without a pre-existing condition. As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing something dangerous like high blood pressure, heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Your NHS Health Check can spot early signs and help prevent these happening to you, which means you’ll be more likely to enjoy life for longer. If you’ve not had yours yet, call your GP.