Ensuring that we have healthy hearts is vitally important to our bodies overall well-being, but it is still something that we seem to neglect. Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer with nearly 74,000 fatalities each year, that’s an astonishing 200 people each day. One in ten women will die from coronary heart disease and the figure for men is even worse at one in six. There are currently 2.3 million people in the UK alone that are living with coronary heart disease, and the healthcare cost stands at just under £2 billion per year.
So, what can be done to improve our chances of not falling foul of coronary heart disease? Unsurprisingly a lot of the things that cause us heart problems are lifestyle related. While this may seem obvious it is worth reiterating as so many of us know the causes, but often we ignore them too. Let’s take a look at three of the main changes that we can make in order to maintain a healthy heart long into our old age:
Healthy diet – Eating well can make a major difference to how our heart performs on a day-to-day basis Having a well balance diet will not only help your heart, it can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol while reducing the risk of diabetes and certain cancers too. Making sure that you are getting enough fruit and vegetables is a great way to start improving your diet. The recommended 5 portions a day should be seen as a minimum wherever possible. It doesn’t matter if they are dried, tinned, frozen or fresh, so there really is no reason not to hit the target.
Stop smoking – If you smoke you are at far greater risk of contracting coronary heart disease than those that don’t. Everyone has seen the damage that can be caused to the body’s major organs by smoking. Whether it’s a photograph on the front of a packet of cigarettes or a diagram drawn by a medical artist; neither is pretty. You should seriously be considering quitting as soon as possible. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the help that is available to you.
Be active – Exercise is a great way to ensure that you have a strong and healthy heart. If you are not used to exercise, but wish to start, there are many great resources out there to help you begin your fitness drive. An important factor when it comes to starting a new exercise plan is to set achievable goals. Making unrealistic targets will only make you feel down when you don’t meet them, so start small and work your way up. Keep a log of all of the things that you have changed and any activity that you do throughout the day. Even taking the stairs instead of waiting for the lift counts and you’ll be amazed how quickly these things add up.
If you don’t currently do all of the above it’s time to make a change. Doing so will not only improve your heart; it will also help with many other health issues too. There’s no time like the present, so why not start making up a plan of action that will give you a stronger, healthier heart today.