Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It doesn’t have to be and here are some helpful ways to help keep your heart healthy:
1. Stop smoking! By far one of the best things anyone can do to live longer. If you are a smoker you are twice as likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. Time is of the essence as it takes years for your heart and lungs to recover after extended periods of smoking. So it can never be too soon to stop! With the new public smoking bans and the ever increasing cigarette and tobacco prices when would there be a better time to quit?
2. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can go a long way to ensuring the health of your heart. Not only this but you are much more likely to survive a heart attack if you have been eating healthily. Try to avoid processed foods and those with large amounts of saturated fats and salts. Keep to fresh fruit and vegetables with your balanced diet. Try and substitute red meats for fish and last but not least try and reduce foods like biscuits, pastries, cakes and dairy products with high saturated fat and sugar levels.
3. Exercise moderately. The heart pumps blood around the body and needs exercise to keep itself fit. A moderate 30 minutes of exercise a day is great for your heart. However, this can be daunting if you are just starting out, build up gradually and enjoy the rewards of keeping your heart fitter. If this isn’t encouragement enough, exercise has been shown to improve mental wellbeing too. So not only will your heart be happy but you will too!
4. Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol can damage heart tissue if you drink too much. It is suggested not to drink more than 1-2 units per day. Not only this but heavy drinking can lead to weight gain, whilst binge drinking will significantly raise the chance of having a heart attack.
5. Recognise the symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD). This can present as tightness or discomfort in the chest, neck, arm or stomach, which may come with exercise and go when you are at rest. These can be the first signs of angina, which may lead to a heart attack if left untreated.