KEEPING YOUR HEART HEALTHY

Maintaining a healthy heart is important for living life to the full. There are several well established ‘risk factors’ which we know can increase your chance of getting heart disease, and many of these can be altered simply by making small changes to our everyday lives. Controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as by not smoking prevents heart attacks and strokes. Choosing a healthy diet and exercise also help.

A HEALTHY DIET

Have a balanced diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grain products, lean meat, fish, and use polyunsaturated margarines and oils such as sunflower, corn and olive oil. Reducing your salt intake as well as avoiding excessive alcohol, consumption is known to reduce blood pressure, and consequently prevent future heart disease and stroke.

EXERCISE

Regular exercise helps the body reduce weight and prevent obesity. The recommended level is 20-30 minutes a day.

This will improve blood pressure, increase the good ‘HDL’ cholesterol in the body, help maintain normal sugar levels and also help smokers to quit smoking. Exercises should include a combination of aerobic and strengthening activities.

AEROBIC EXERCISE

This is the best exercise for the heart. It also burns calories.

  • Brisk walking – 160 calories/30 minutes
  • Cycling – 201 calories/30 minutes
  • Aerobics – 246 calories/30 minutes
  • Dancing – 208 calories/30 minutes
  • Housework – 92 calories/30 minutes
  • Jogging – 268 to 455 calories/30 minutes
  • Swimming – 279 calories/30 minutes
  • Tennis (singles) – 205 calories/30 minutes

The 5-BX exercises (Penguin Books) are also useful for home exercises. Yoga, Tai Chi and strengthening exercises complement aerobic exercises.

 

SMOKING

Giving up smoking is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer. Smoking damages the body in many ways (see below). It can be very difficult to give up, but there are many sources of support available, such as Surrey Stop Smoking Service, which can be contacted on 0800 622 6968 or contact.quit51@nhs.net.

MAJOR CARDIAC RISK FACTORS

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol)
  • Family history

 

 

 

OTHER POINTS

Motivation is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Suggestions to keep you motivated include:

  • Know your risk factors – blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body mass index, family history, cigarette smoking and physical inactivity. Dr Chua or his staff can advise on all these.
  • Set achievable goals – have small realistic targets like diet, weight loss and exercise and put them to practice.
  • Keep a chart/diary – know your progress.
  • Keep informed – information can be obtained from Dr Chua or his staff, from booklets provided by the British Heart Foundation, Heart UK and relevant websites. Surround yourself with people who can motivate you. Do not despair.

BOOK A CONSULTATION

If you want to see a cardiologist in Guildford and would like to book a consultation with Dr. Chua at then click the button below and get in touch with us through our contact page.

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