It’s World Heart Day. A time to find out about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how to take action in our own lives to live a heart-healthy life. This global campaign was created by the World Heart Federation to tackle this worldwide issue that affects so many of us.
The World Heart Federation have found that, ‘cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 18.6 million lives each year’. Shockingly, ‘at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided’. This is why I wanted to write a blog post about how to avoid developing CVD.
What is cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the name for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It is commonly associated with fatty deposits building up inside the arteries which can increase your risk of blood clotting.
There are four main types of CVD including:
- Coronary heart disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Aortic disease
How can you avoid developing it?
There are many ways you can avoid developing cardiovascular disease. Due to the nature of this condition, many of these tips are about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A great first step to stop smoking is talking to your doctor. They can then choose to refer you to a “stop smoking” clinic or prescribe nicotine replacement options like patches and gum. Find your local stop smoking service here:
Find Your Local Stop Smoking Service (LSSS) – Better Health – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Having a balanced diet will ensure your body and heart can stay as healthy as possible.
- Try to eat five different fruits and vegetables per day.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat less sugary and saturated fat-filled foods.
- Always have breakfast.
- Choose to eat high fibre carbohydrates.
Lower your alcohol intake
- Aim to not exceed 14 units of alcohol a week.
- Try alcohol alternatives like mocktails.
- Make a gradual plan and stick to it.
- Try drinking less strong drinks or less of them.
Professor Sanjay Sharma, says that ‘150 minutes of exercise a week, preferably in the form of a brisk walk, is exceptionally good for us, not only improving our cardiovascular systems, but reducing our risk of some cancers, improving mental health and slowing down some of the ageing process.’BBC Two – Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, Series 4, Episode 4 – How much is too much… exercise?
Although it can be difficult to stay active at work, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in. This can be anything from standing up at work, walking to the office or even getting a dog!
If you have an extremely high risk of developing CVD, your doctor might recommend you take medication.
There are many different types of medication for this condition. Each has a different use.
The main types are:
- Statins which can help lower cholesterol levels
- Aspirin that prevents blood clots
- Blood pressure tablets
If you found this World Heart Day article helpful to read, check out the following post:
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