Did you know coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia?
According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease – which includes heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases – accounts for 1 in 4 of all deaths and claims a victim every 12 minutes.
The good news is that coronary heart disease is largely preventable and there are several things you can do to promote good heart health.
Getting enough physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to keep your heart healthy. Try to build more movement into your day.
That might mean riding or walking to work instead of driving, using the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a local park in your lunch break, or parking further away from your destination and walking.
Each week, it’s recommended adults do either:
- 5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity – such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn or swimming
- 25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity – such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer or netball
- an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
Include muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days each week, such as:
- squats or lunges
- lifting weights
- household tasks that involve lifting, carrying or digging.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is another important way to look after your heart.
Fruit and vegetables not only help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke; they also reduce your risk of developing some cancers, as well as other illnesses such as type 2 diabetes. Yet according to the Heart Foundation, less than 10 per cent of Aussies eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart and circulatory diseases. How?
Well, the excess weight can lead to fatty material building up in your arteries. If the arteries that carry blood to your heart become clogged, it can result in a heart attack.
If your BMI is higher than 25 (which indicates you are overweight), it might be time to adjust your lifestyle to get your weight in check.
Tip: If you need help losing weight, book in with your GP today. Your doctor can support you with your weight loss goals.
Smoking poses all sorts of dangers to your health, and one of them is damage to your heart and blood vessels. In fact, smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who’ve never smoked.
Smoking speeds up the clogging and narrowing of coronary arteries and over time this can lead to heart attack.
Bottom line, it’s time to quit.
Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease. If you have high cholesterol, it may be contributing to your high blood pressure.
When the body can’t clear cholesterol from the blood stream, it can build up along the artery walls. Your heart ends up working harder to pump the blood through your arteries, and this can push your blood pressure up.
If you suffer from high blood pressure or cholesterol, talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes or medications that may help.
Drink in moderation
According to the Heart Foundation, drinking alcohol doesn’t have any heart health benefits. Excessive alcohol consumption can increase your blood pressure and make you put on weight, driving up your risk of heart attack and stroke.
To promote good heart health, only drink in moderation – that means no more than 10 healthy standard drinks a week, and no more than four a session.
We all know that stress is bad for us, but did you know it can harm your heart? Stress can lead to high blood pressure, which can then put you at risk of heart attack and stroke.
Find tips for managing stress in our previous blog.
Like expert advice about your health?
Our doctors can help you work through a range of preventative measures to protect your heart health.
Whether you’re looking for advice about nutrition and exercise, want to lose weight or quit smoking, we are here at support you. Call (03) 9598 6244 or book online.
We also have cardiologists available at Bayside Specialist Suites, should you have any concerns about your heart health.