7 Ways to look after your heart
Looking after your heart is one of the most important things you can do. Unfortunately, in recent days the pandemic has often overshadowed the importance of our heart health. Fewer people are making their cardiology check-ups, even though COVID-19 is known to affect those with heart conditions more severely. To take better care of your heart, here are 7 steps you can take.
- Get your blood pressure under control: High blood pressure is a ‘silent killer’ which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. You can lower your blood pressure through weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet, although some may need medication. Getting a home blood pressure monitor can also help you keep track of your blood pressure.
- Eat healthy: what you eat has a huge impact on your heart. A diet high in saturated fats, salt and sugar can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure which all put your heart at risk.
- Make sleep a priority: most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Without this, you increase your risk of many cardiovascular issues, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease. If you snore and choke, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, which is strongly correlated to heart disease. If you have difficulties with your sleep, talk to your GP or a Respiratory & Sleep Specialist about treatment options.
- Start exercising: 30 minutes of exercise a day can dramatically help your heart. It helps with blood pressure, blood flow, cholesterol, weight, inflammation and more – taking stress off your heart.
- De-stress: although it’s easier said than done, lowering your stress levels is an important way to reduce you blood pressure and avoid unhealthy habits like stress-eating or smoking. Try different methods and see what works best for you – breathing exercises, nature walks, stretching, meditation or a relaxing podcast.
- Watch your weight: excess weight can actually injure your heart muscles and cause high blood pressure, putting your heart at risk. Simple everyday changes like smaller portions, increasing your physical activity, and dodging some of those high calorie foods can help you lose weight sustainably.
- See your GP or Cardiologist: getting a check-up can be a really helpful way to find out how you’re going with your heart health. Your GP or cardiologist knows your medical history, and so can give you the best suggestions on protecting your heart.