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Look After Your Heart

February 6th, 2019 | by Sarah Wills
Look After Your Heart

Did you know that February is National Heart month? So now is the time to look at your lifestyle and start focusing on what can make your heart healthier.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which is the disease of the heart and circulation, is one of the major causes of death, not just here in Wales and the UK but worldwide. In 2011, 160,000 died from Cardiovascular Disease in the UK. This included coronary heart disease and stroke.

The main symptoms are angina or chest pain, heart attach and heart failure. There are about 130,000 reported heart attacks each year in the UK and the numbers are growing.

The good news is that most of the risk factors are related to lifestyle which means you can do something about it and reduce your risk.

Have you had your cholesterol tested? High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for CVD because too much cholesterol in the blood can cause your arteries to narrow and increase the risk of you developing a blood clot. High cholesterol has no symptoms so it is important to get it checked.

If it is high you can take steps to reduce it. The most important thing is eating a healthy diet low in saturated fats and high in vegetables, fish and white meat. I have had a number of clients come to me with high cholesterol and when I change their eating habits their cholesterol drops dramatically in as little time as 8 weeks!

Being physically active is also important in lowering your cholesterol. You don’t have to join a gym or even go running. Gentle exercise like swimming, a bike ride or even a brisk walk will benefit you. A fast, brisk walk on an empty stomach in the morning is the best way to burn fat. Try it 3-5 times a week for at least half an hour. It works…trust me!

High blood pressure is also a massive issue in the UK. Over 30% of people in the UK have high blood pressure, though many were not aware of it. High blood pressure is by far the most common risk factor for CVD. This is because the high pressure damages your artery walls and again this can increase your risk of developing a blood clot.

Like cholesterol, high blood pressure has no symptoms and may well get higher as you get older. Thus it is important to have it checked at least every five years by your GP.

Smoking and drinking are also a huge risk factor in developing CVD. So use common sense. Drink in moderation and give up smoking!!

Finally family history can also play a part. Although you can’t do anything about your family history you can change your lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing CVD


So my top tips for this week to decrease your risk of CVD are:

  • Get your cholesterol checked. If it is high change your diet.
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly. If it is high do something about it
  • Avoid too much alcohol and stop smoking
  • Take regular exercise. Even if it’s just a brisk walk 3-5 times a week.


For more information my healthy eating and exercise plans check out my website

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