Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a well-known killer, causing 73,000 deaths every year in the UK. Yet healthy lifestyle choices can dramatically reduce the risks.
Smokers have almost double the risk of a heart attack, when compared to those who have never smoked. This is because smoking damages blood vessels wall and increases fatty deposits in the heart, leading to a narrowing of arteries and higher blood pressure.
Smoking is a double whamming. It also makes your blood thicker and more likely to clot, increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
Get help to quit: https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree
A balanced diet
A high fat diet not surprisingly increases cholesterol levels and consequently blood pressure. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat.
Try the following:
Low fat versions of your favourite foods.
Steaming, microwaving and grilling foods instead of frying and roasting
Eat more fish. Omega 3 is great for your heart, so why not choose mackeral, fresh tuna and salmon twice a week
Switch to foods with added wholemeal and choose fruit, vegetables, pulses and nuts as high fibre alternatives
Reducing sugar is not only good for your heart, but it’s great for your teeth.
Be wary of ready meals, which contain a high % of salt.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure. It can also negatively impact weight lose.
Do 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, include cardio and muscle strengthening exercises.
Although stress does not directly cause CHD it does affect your risk as you may use unhealthy coping mechanisms. Develop techniques to manage stress, learn to relax and keep up the conversation. Talking about how you feel to those close to you can really help.
Be aware of your family history. If your parents or siblings have CHD, it can increase your own risk.
Keep track of your health and fitness at your local Well-point Kiosk.
Check your heart age with this online tool: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/check-your-heart-age-tool/