February is National Heart Month here are a few tips from the British Heart Foundation for keeping a healthy heart. Not only for Feb but the whole year round!
1. Cut down on your salt intake! Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Avoid foods like crisps, salted nuts, canned and packet soups and sauces, baked beans, and ready meals.
2. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and can also help increase the chances of survival after a heart attack.
3. Get Active! The heart is a muscle and it needs exercise to keep fit so that it can pump blood efficiently around your body with each heartbeat. Any form of activity in the long run is better for you than inactivity. Even things like walking if done often enough will really help. As the modern world has changed and as we age we do less. More steps make sense.
4. Manage your weight. The number of people who are overweight in Britain is rising fast. Carrying a lot of extra weight as fat can greatly affect your health and increases the risk of life-threatening conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. If you are overweight or obese start by making small, but healthy changes to what you eat and try to become more active.
5. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked by your GP. People with high blood pressure run a higher risk of having a stroke or a heart attack. High levels of cholesterol in the blood – produced by the liver from saturated fats – can lead to fatty deposits in your coronary arteries that increase your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and diseases that affect the circulation. You can help lower your cholesterol level by exercising and eating high-fibre foods such as porridge, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
6. Check your family history. If a close relative is at risk of developing coronary heart disease from smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, obesity and diabetes, then you could be at risk too.
7. Make sure you can recognise the early signs of coronary heart disease. Tightness or discomfort in the chest, neck, arm or stomach which comes on when you exert yourself but goes away with rest may be the first sign of angina, which can lead to a heart attack if left untreated.
Some very good advice for us all from the British Heart Foundation for National Heart Month.