World Heart Day

Posted on: 29/09/2021

Observed on the 29th September every year, World Heart Day was created to inform people that cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.9 million each year. The day aims to educate the public of the risk factors that often lead to CVD and how at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided.

How can I reduce my chances of developing CVD?

1. Quit smoking
Smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

2. Eat healthily
A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (5 portions a day) and whole grains.

3. Exercise regularly
Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease.

4. Limit alcohol
Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease.

5. Manage stress
When you are stressed, your arteries become inflamed. Inflammation is involved in the process that leads to heart attacks, angina and strokes.

6. Keep your cholesterol levels under control
High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels, making you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke. It is mainly caused by eating fatty foods, lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and alcohol consumption. You can lower your cholesterol by eating healthily and getting more exercise. Some people also need to take medicine.

7. Control your blood pressure
It is important to get your blood pressure checked at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Introduce lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier and exercising, to prevent or control high blood pressure.

8. Manage diabetes
Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. That is because high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. Therefore, it is important to get tested for diabetes

9. Get enough sleep
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. If you don't get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, all of which can raise your risk for heart disease.

Making some or all of these lifestyle changes can drastically improve your overall heart health.