February is National Heart month – an event that aims to motivate everyone to adopt a healthier lifestyle. From heart-healthy meals to keeping active, read more on heart health here.
What is heart age?
Your heart age is a way to understand how your cardiovascular health compares to your age. It can give an indication of your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Why should I look after my heart?
Prevention is key, especially if there is a history of someone in your extended family who has had problems with their heart. Often simple measures can reduce risk.
What happens if I don’t look after my heart?
Generally speaking, an unhealthy lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease potentially causing more significant heart problems. A healthier lifestyle can help improve your cardiovascular health, which will make you feel better and help to support a healthy body.
Am I at risk of poor heart health?
Have a screening with your GP. If you’re identified as a high cardiac risk, they can refer you to one of our cardiology specialists for a consultation and diagnostic tests.
What can I do to lower my heart age?
While heart disease is common, many of us can take steps to help prevent it by keeping a healthy heart. One in 10 men aged 50 has a heart age of 60. This was the finding of Public Health England (PHE), following analysis of the results from its online Heart Age test. And the issue certainly doesn’t just affect men: more than 900,000 women in the UK are living with heart disease and it kills nearly three times more women than breast cancer. Follow these five steps to help improve your heart health.
1. Stop smoking
Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who’ve never smoked, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Smoking damages the lining of the arteries and leads to the build-up of fatty material that narrows your arteries. Quitting is the best thing for your heart health. One year after giving up, your heart-attack risk will be halved, as you have a healthier heart.
2. Reduce saturated fats
BHF says too much saturated fat can increase the amount of ‘bad’ (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Saturated fats can be found in fried food, processed meat products such as sausages, pastries, cheese and cream. Check out our article on healthy eating and the Wellness Solution Plate.
3. Be more active to improve your cardiovascular health
Activity and exercise helps maintain a healthy heart, it can help to lower your risk of coronary heart disease. Sometimes it can be difficult to fit exercise into daily life, but simple things such as walking rather than driving or taking the stairs instead of the lift can help. Or you can download and try the NHS Couch to 5K app and set yourself the challenge of getting fit through running. Our article offers some hints and tips on getting started with running this year.
4. Mind your weight with heart healthy meals
If you’re overweight, your heart must work harder. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your heart and help protect you against high blood pressure and lower your cholesterol, helping to keep your heart healthy. Try searching online for healthy heart recipes to include in your diet or food good for the heart to help maintain a healthy weight.
5. Keep your blood pressure in check
A normal blood pressure (BP) is around 120/70mmHg, although up to 140/90mmHg is within the normal range. High blood pressure can be symptomless and as many as seven million people in the UK have it without realising. Many people’s BP can be lowered or kept in check with lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, lowering salt and alcohol intake, being active and having stress-coping strategies.
Get on top of your heart health
If you’re experiencing symptoms, or have concerns about your blood pressure, our cardiology specialists offer a range of tests and scans. Our Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Konrad Grosser says “A cardiac MRI scan can assess your heart function and coronary circulation as well as your heart valves and greater vessels. It’s a very good test, which doesn’t use radiation.”
From heart monitoring to CT coronary angiograms and MRI scans, we can help you get on top of your heart health with our range of tests and scans. It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your Consultant or contact our Private Patient team via Livechat or by calling 01580 363158.
If you’re concerned, or would like some advice, speak to your GP or book an appointment with our private GPs that fits around you.
Published on 21 November 2022