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5 steps to a Healthy Heart

Your Heart Scan's Healthy Heart Tips are here to help you understand the facts and equip yourself with simple, practical steps you can undertake every day to eat better, be more active and look after your heart.

In today’s modern world Coronary heart disease is still one of the single, biggest killers in the UK.

A twinge in your heart or chest area can be a worrying thing, and sometimes we can quickly jump to dramatic conclusions. The great news is that many heart conditions, big or small, can be avoided by taking the simple steps into consideration.

A happier heart means a happier you, so make sure to get these elements sorted!

  1. Control the Pressure Watching your diet and exercising are great ways to lower blood pressure, as are reducing salt intake and cutting down on alcohol. If you eat ready-made foods, beware of the salt content, as the maximum recommended daily allowance for (RDA) adults is 6g. Drinking more than 15 units at once can affect how your heart beats, and could put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke. Regular drinking can also weaken your heart. There are currently around seven million people in the UK living with High blood pressure, it is hard to notice, and can go undiagnosed. If it is too high then your heart may become enlarged over time, and pump less effectively.

  2. Watch your Cholesterol Cholesterol is made by the liver from the saturated fats that we eat, but it also exists in some foods types too. Our bodies need cholesterol to make our cells work properly, but too much causes atherosclerosis which in turn can increase risk of major coronary heart disease. Cholesterol levels can be easily measured by a blood sample or finger prick and if you’re found to have high cholesterol, there are simple solutions. Lowering your intake of both saturated and trans fats by eating less processed foods (cakes, fast foods and spreads) will help, swap for healthier fats, natural oils, avocados, oily fish and nuts and seeds. Eating high-fibre foods or soya into your diet helps greatly.

  3. Be more Heart-Fit The British Heart Foundation suggests you keep a healthy heart, and aim to complete at least 150 minutes of activity a week. Any exercise you do will count and great exercises for cardio-health include swimming lanes, running intervals, cycling, and even Yoga or Pilates. If you enjoy the gym try picking weights, or a class which elevates your heart rate like spin or circuits.

  4. Watch your waistline With good diet and an active lifestyle, you will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, essential for heart health. Excess weight, puts extra strain on our hearts, making it harder to function correctly. It’s not just weight to keep an eye on, but body’s measurements too. If you’re a woman, your waist should measure below 80cm (32 inches) and for a man, 94cm (37 inches). This is lower for South Asian men (35 inches) as they are naturally more at risk.

  5. Give up smoking THE single most important thing you can do if you want to be healthier, says the British Heart Foundation. Every cigarette you smoke the 4,000 chemicals within tobacco enter the lungs and get into the bloodstream and body tissues. This increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease and cancer. These chemicals can damage the lining of arteries, and block them. Sadly 22,000 smokers die from cardiovascular disease each year, the good news is, no matter how long you’ve been smoking, giving up will improve your health immediately. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to normal, with nicotine and carbon monoxide leaving your body and replaced by oxygen. Once you’ve reached a year without tobacco, the risk of coronary heart disease will be half that of a smoker.

There are many more steps you can take to better heart health, employing just one simple change is a step in the right direction and by being more conscious of our health we can be preventative in our Heart care.


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