How to Promote Heart Health
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is a widespread condition that affects both the heart and the blood vessels, resulting in conditions such as chest pain, heart attacks, and strokes. Unfortunately, heart disease is responsible for a significant number of deaths in Australia, with 17,300 reported in 2021 alone.
Fortunately, organisations like Heart Research Australia are working hard to combat this disease through their RED FEB campaign. RED FEB is an awareness and fundraising initiative that encourages people to wear red throughout the month of February and donate to support critical research into heart disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The ultimate aim is to lessen the impact of heart disease on families and communities while advancing breakthroughs in the battle against this illness.
While heart disease is still the primary cause of death in Australia, the good news is that up to 80% of premature cases of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, we are thrilled to share cardiologist Dr Edward Barin's 4-M approach to heart health, a simple yet effective set of tips that can be implemented regardless of age. Remember, it is never too late to start taking care of your heart!
Exercise is crucial for overall health, including heart health. It helps strengthen your immune system, lessens the risk of blood clots, enhances brain function, and lowers blood pressure. Regular cardio exercise can help the heart with improved blood flow, reducing the risk of a heart attack. Exercise improves heart muscle efficiency, circulation, muscle strength and flexibility. This happens because exercise enhances the muscles' capability to extract oxygen from the blood, lessening the heart's workload.
So you might be wondering how you can easily incorporate exercise into your busy life. Here are some simple ways for both young and elderly people to incorporate exercise into their life:
- Go out for a 30-minute walk
- Get moving whilst watching the television
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator
- Follow YouTube exercise videos
- Bike or walk whilst running errands
- Take a sports or dance class
- Gardening since it involves a range of movements
Choose a workout that you like and stick to it. Try getting family and friends involved to make it more enjoyable.
Eating mindfully and making healthy food choices can have a significant impact on your overall heart health. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is necessary.
Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) found in your blood. It is produced by your liver and is also obtained from foods. It is necessary for hormone production and cell membrane formation, but too much can lead to heart disease by building up in blood vessels. There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as "good" cholesterol.
To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, it is recommended to reduce or avoid the following foods
- Full-fat dairy - whole milk, butter, full-fat yoghurt and cheese
- Red meat - Steak, beef roast, ribs, pork chops and ground beef
- Processed meat - bacon, sausage and hotdogs
- Fried foods - french fries and fried chicken
- Baked goods - cookies, cakes and doughnuts
To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, it is recommended to increase intake of the following foods:
- Whole grains - bran, cereals, and brown or wild rice
- Beans and legumes - black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, navy beans and lentils
- Fatty fish - salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines and rainbow trout
- Nuts - Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and others
Eating a balanced meal and reducing the number of unhealthy fats, salt, and processed foods in your diet can help to promote heart health. Visit your doctor for more information on heart health and meals.
Staying on top of your heart health requires tracking key metrics and monitoring progress over time. Key indicators to track include cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight, sugar levels, waist circumference, and exercise capacity. Regular monitoring of these metrics can provide insight into your overall health and help identify any changes that may need further attention. Early detection and management can prevent life-threatening heart problems.
High blood pressure can strain the heart and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. A high blood pressure reading indicates the heart is working harder than necessary to pump blood, which can damage blood vessels over time. Visit Padbury pharmacy for a free blood pressure check by our professional and friendly staff to help monitor and manage high blood pressure.
The frequency of heart health checks varies based on age, risk factors, and overall health. It's recommended to have a heart health check at least once a year, or more frequently if recommended by a doctor.
- Mental Approach
Maintaining a positive outlook and managing stress can have a significant impact on heart health. Research has shown that negative emotions such as stress, anger, and depression can increase the risk of heart disease and contribute to poor cardiovascular health.
On the other hand, a positive state of mind, supportive relationships, and overall happiness can play a protective role in reducing the risk of heart problems. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.
It's important to prioritise self-care and create a healthy work-life balance. Engage in activities that bring you joy, stay connected with loved ones, and don't hesitate to reach out for support if needed. Making time for rest and sleep can also have a positive impact on your mental well-being.
Prioritising mental health can not only improve your overall well-being but also help reduce the risk of heart disease and promote a healthy heart.
Follow these tips for a healthier heart and support RED FEB this February by simply wearing red and donating to Heart Research Australia which will help fund life-saving breakthroughs for people across Australia. Wearing red and participating in activities you love, such as running, walking, or cooking will raise awareness and funds for heart disease research.
Share your RED on social media using the hashtags #wearredanddonate, #REDFEB, #HROz, #researchsaveslives, and #heartdiseaseawareness.
To get involved and make a difference, visit https://www.heartresearch.com.au/redfeb/ for more information or to make a donation. Let's work together to raise awareness and support a healthy heart!
Visit Padbury Pharmacy for a free and professional blood pressure check and take control of your heart health today.