EXPERT ADVICE: KEEPING YOUR HEART HEALTHY

EXPERT ADVICE: KEEPING YOUR HEART HEALTHY

Everyone has a story of a relative who lived to be 100 whilst drinking a bottle of whisky a day and chain smoking. Unfortunately, they’re the exception, not the rule and many of us have to work at keeping our bodies healthy.

One of the most important aspects of keeping healthy is looking after your heart. Luckily, there are plenty of things that we can do to minimise our chances of developing heart disease without having to cross our fingers that we’ll be one of those exceptions.

  • Begin with exercise. Walk, run, jump, skip, ride lift; just move!
  • Your diet doesn’t have to be complicated to protect your heart. Avoid processed foods of any type, try to buy local produce, eat vegetables and think about portion size.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Surround yourself with people who lift your mood and make you laugh. Laughter really is great medicine.
  • Ensure that you get good quality sleep every night. Individual requirements vary but the vast majority of people need at least six hours every night.
  • Stressed? Life is stressful, it cannot be avoided. Some stress is good but unrelenting stress is toxic to your heart. Look at your work schedule or your commitments. Plan breaks, holidays and time out.
  • If you are overweight seek help, support and advice as to how to lose a few kilos. You don’t have to be a super model to have a healthy heart but if your weight is creeping up, take action now.
  • It will come as a surprise to no one that smoking damages your coronary arteries. It is when these arteries block that you have a heart attack. There is no room anywhere in your life for a smoke if you want to remain healthy.

It is very wise to have regular health checks to assess for early risk factors. These include discussing with your health care provider your family history , your blood pressure , your BMI , and looking at other risk factors such as any medications and supplements you may be taking , your other medical problems as well as blood test results for things such as diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

 


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