We’re all aware of the importance of taking good care of our heart health, but it can be difficult to know how.
Whilst 1 in 10 aged between 30 and 70 die of cardiovascular disease, most cases are preventable which means we should all act now to ensure we look after our heart health in the future.
From a heart healthy diet, to other lifestyle changes you can make, find out how you can take care of your heart health. To mark World heart day on the 29th of September at InisCare we have complied some easy steps to take charge of your heart health and embark on a heart healthy lifestyle that will help fight heart disease.
- Eat Less Salt
Taking in too much salt can lead to high blood pressure which in turn increased your risk pf developing heart disease or a stroke. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1.6g/70 mmol sodium (4g salt) per day for adults. Given that a slice of some main brand white batch breads contains 0.74g per slice, we understand that this can be difficult. You should Aim for foods that contain less than 1.5g salt or 0.6g sodium per 100g whenever possible, always make sure you read the label.
- Get Physical
This seems obvious, and you have probably heard it 100 times before but it is vital. Increase your activity by five minutes each week until you’re getting a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week. We are not saying go out and buy an expensive gym membership, you can take action from the comfort of your own home, for example, try marching or jogging on the spot whilst watching your favourite TV programme. The aim is to get your heart rate up and keep it active!
- Drink More Water
Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go. Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood that is pumped by the heart carries oxygen to different parts of the body. A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.n general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day.
- Eat Healthy
Put raw veggies and fruits in front in the refrigerator and healthy snacks in the front of your presses, so that’s what you see first. It takes 21 days to form a habbit so make a conscious effort to choose fruit and veg over sugary snacks, swap sodas for water, and in no time it will become second nature.
Also, check out the Irish Heart Foundations page (https://irishheart.ie/recipes/) for some amazing heart friendly suggestions. These easy to cook, reliable recipe ideas will help you identify foods that can be part of a sensible eating plan.
- Control Cholesterol
Eating foods high in saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol can lead to high blood cholesterol. To help keep your cholesterol levels down, eat foods low in saturated fat and trans-fat, such as lean chicken or turkey (roasted or baked, with skin removed), fruits and veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains.
- Avoid second-hand smoke like the plague
Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work. Research suggests (American heart), exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year.
Nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart disease when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. This is due to the fact that the chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries.
- Quit Smoking
Try this four-step way to kick your habit:
- On Day 1, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half
- On Day 3, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half again
- And on Day 5, cut your smoking in half again
- On your Quit Day… quit!
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To achieve steady, painless weight loss, take it easy. Each day, if you eat 200-300 calories less than you would normally consume, and exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week, you’ll get closer to your goal and be able to achieve weight loss that’s steady and painless.
- Don’t sit for too long at one time
In recent years, research has suggested that staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health no matter how much exercise you do. This is bad news for the many people who sit at sedentary jobs all day. When looking at the combined results of several observational studies that included nearly 800,000 people, researchers found that in those who sat the most, there was an associated 147 percent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 percent increase in death caused by these events. In addition, sitting for long periods of time (especially when traveling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot).
- Get enough sleep
Sleep is an essential part of keeping your heart healthy. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits. One study looking at 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
- Get regular check ups
Visit your healthcare professional and ask for a few simple checks:
- Check your blood glucose levels
High blood glucose (blood sugar) can be indicative of diabetes. CVD accounts for 60% of all deaths in people with diabetes so if it’s left undiagnosed and untreated it can put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Check your blood pressure
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for CVD. It’s called the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it.
- Check your numbers
Visit your healthcare professional and ask them to measure your cholesterol levels, weight and body mass index (BMI), as well as your blood pressure and blood glucose. They can then advise you on your CVD risk so you can plan to improve your heart health.
- Understand the signs and symptoms of a heart attack
Over 70% of all cardiac and breathing emergencies occur in the home when a family member is present and could help a victim.
- Stay Positive
If you get off your exercise schedule, have a cigarette, or eat a fattening meal, immediately get back on track toward re-establishing a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let one knock get you down. It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up again.
- Give Yourself Credit
To maintain momentum with exercising, losing weight, or quitting smoking, keep track of your achievements and reward yourself by doing something you enjoy.
2018 is all about making a promise to live a more heart-healthy life. By making just a few small changes to our lives, we can all live longer, better, more heart-healthy lives. On World Heart Day The World Heart Federation are encouraging us all to make a promise, a simple promise from the heart for your heart.
What is World Heart Day?
In May 2012, world leaders committed to reducing global mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is accountable for nearly half of all NCD deaths making it the world’s number one killer. World Heart Day is, therefore, the perfect platform for the CVD community to unite in the fight against CVD and reduce the global disease burden.
Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day informs people around the globe that CVD, including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.5 million lives each year, and highlights the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control CVD. It aims to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.
InisCare and World Heart Day
We are all guilty of neglecting our heart from time to time. Here in InisCare to mark World Heart Day on the 29th of September we have all made our heart a promise. These promises are about saying to yourself, “what can I do right now to look after MY HEART… and YOUR HEART?” . Each promise is unique and personal, but by making just a few small changes to our lives, we can all live longer, better, more heart-healthy lives. Here at InisCare that’s exactly what we intend on doing.
So go on, make your heart a promise on the 29th of September! For MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for all our hearts. Because every heartbeat matters !
Don’t forget to share your promises and encourage your loved ones to do so too!