Not sure how to prioritise your heart’s health?
So many people neglect the health of their hearts as they get caught up in their work and the general back and forth of a busy lifestyle. They just don’t realise their behaviours, when added up over time, can have a negative impact on their heart.
Heart failure and coronary heart disease (CHD) are massive killers in the UK. According to the British Heart Foundation, one in eight men and one in 14 women die from CHD each year, equating to around 66,000 people per annum. Many of these deaths are preventable through lifestyle changes and getting health check-ups.
So what are the best ways to ensure you’re keeping your heart healthy?
This blog explores the many different, relatively easy ways you can improve your heart’s health.
Top tips for a stronger heart:
Eating healthily should be the cornerstone behaviour for everyone looking to ensure their heart stays healthy. By reducing your intake of foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugars and salt, and replacing them with high-fibre foods such as whole grains and vegetables, you’ll see a significant increase in your heart health.
There are many other heart-healthy foods – nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and peanuts all have proven health benefits. Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation in the arteries. Replace unhealthy snacks with these and add them to salads to incorporate them into your diet.
Other changes you can make to your diet include:
- Avoid frying foods in fat such as butter or olive oil, instead, look for low-calorie sprays, or bake, grill, steam or boil your food.
- Eat more fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon as they are rich in Omega-3 fats.
- Finally, cut down on your salt consumption to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Managing stress is key to getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining a good mood. It’s also a great combatant of heart disease, depression and high blood pressure. Try implementing 10-15 minutes of deep breathing or meditation into your daily routine to reap the benefits.
Reduce alcohol intake
Despite there being a few studies determining moderate consumption of red wine may be good for your heart, the evidence is far from 100 per cent proven. Reducing or even eliminating alcohol consumption would be the best bet for your heart as high alcohol intake is known to cause irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, and increase your chances of having a stroke, developing certain cancers and liver problems.
If you do drink alcohol, try not to exceed the NHS guidelines for safe drinking.
Smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK, it kills 76,000 Brits every year. Non-smokers are half as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack as smokers, with the habit also being one of the main causes of CHD.
If you are regularly around smokers, you are also at risk from second-hand smoke that can have similarly destructive effects on your heart.
Partaking in regular exercise can lower your chance of suffering from heart disease. Scientists recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity aerobic exercise per week. The ideal split for this is 30 minutes of exercise five days per week, allowing two days for rest and recovery.
If you’re new to exercise take it easy, start off with walking for 20-30 mins and as you increase your confidence move into running, cycling and going to the gym.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can significantly increase your chance of developing heart disease. Not only that but carrying too many pounds also puts people at risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Experts recommend that you should lose 5-10% of your bodyweight if you are overweight to help improve your metabolic profile. Aim for a steady 1-2lbs per week.
What can ECG at Home do for you?
Worried about the health of your heart?
Going to the NHS for an ECG test is a great idea in theory but waiting times are spiralling out of control. Six weeks is the current conservative estimate and people are waiting much longer than that, up to 15 months in some cases. That’s a long time to sit worrying when you suspect something is wrong.
At ECG at Home, we provide fast and reliable ECG test results so you can cut out the worry and get your GP the medical evidence required to make a speedy referral for any specialist care you may need.