Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women in Australia. To minimise the risk of heart disease, keep your heart healthy by maintaining a healthy weight, checking your blood pressure and cholesterol regularly and quit smoking. Here is our simple strategy to help you maintain a healthy heart:
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight significantly increases the risk of heart disease risk. Changing your diet is the most effective way to lose weight, and may be difficult at first, however it becomes easier once it becomes a regular habit; a diet low in salt, added sugars and saturated fats is great for your heart.
Here are 5 tips to maintain a healthy weight:
1. Aim for 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day. Ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables to your diet include: adding extra vegetables to your stir-fry and soups, adding blueberries and strawberries into your oats or swapping your afternoon treat for a fruit salad. To save money off your grocery bill, eat vegetables and fruits that are in season. It is important to follow a healthy eating plan and consume legumes, fish, seafood, poultry, nuts and seeds.
2. Get moving for 150 minutes or more of physical activity each week. Join a gym or walking club, walk your children to school or ride to work.If you are recovering from a heart attack or surgery, speak to your doctor about being active.
3. Drink water every day and limit alcohol consumption. Swap sugary drinks for water, it is free, has zero kilojoules and is much better for your health!
4. Reduce portion sizes and be mindful when you are full. Avoid eating when you feel bored, distracted or stressed. It may help to use a smaller plate than usual and don’t feel pressured to finish the plate. Don’t forget that it takes your brain time (around 20 minutes) to realise that your stomach is full, and eating slowly can therefore help reduce overeating. If you can’t finish your meal, freeze leftovers for other meals instead.
5. Make smart and simple swaps such as herbs and spices instead of salt, try unsalted nuts and seeds instead of salted nuts, or swap whole milk to skim milk. Small changes can add up to make a big difference!
Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol
Have you noticed that almost every appointment with your doctor includes a blood pressure test? This is because there aren’t any symptoms of high blood pressure making it difficult to detect. Therefore, it is important to get checked regularly.
High blood pressure is the measurement of blood pressure in the artery and is one of the most common health conditions. Cholesterol is the amount of fats in your blood often caused by the foods you eat. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases the risk of having a serious health episode such as a heart attack. As you age, the chance of having high blood pressure increases.
Causes of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be linked to family history, unhealthy diet, mass alcohol consumption and limited physical activity. To control your risk, you may need to make lifestyle changes if necessary such as quitting smoking, more physical activity and a healthy diet.
Visit your local Ramsay Pharmacy to receive regular blood pressure checks. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your GP.
Did you know that cigarette smoke speeds up the clogging and narrowing of arteries putting you at risk of a heart attack? Tobacco is so dangerous that if you are exposed to second-hand smoke you are also at risk.
There are several health, physical and lifestyle benefits when you quit smoking including:
- Health benefits - Improved oxygen levels, reduced risk of heart attacks, better lung functionality and the overall feeling of being healthier.
- Physical benefits include younger looking skin, better oral health and improved senses.
- Lifestyle benefits such as less stress and more money in your pocket!
Many people aren’t able to quit smoking on their first attempt as breaking a habit isn’t easy. However, don’t see this as a failure! Learn from your experience, write down your goals, focus on the positives, reach out to family and friends for support, keep busy and eat well. Reward yourself for making this life-changing step by spending that money on something for yourself! Chat with your Ramsay Pharmacist to develop a strategy to quit smoking. Even if you’ve tried using nicotine patches and gum previously and haven’t been successful, there are newer strategies which have shown to be effective including using a combination of both patches and an oral spray.
Make a plan
Make a plan to keep your heart healthy with our knowledgeable team at Ramsay Pharmacy to keep your heart healthy. We can help manage your weight with the CSIRO‑developed Impromy weight loss program. The Impromy program includes health monitoring such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks, nutritionally balanced meals and support from our team members.
If you are ready to quit smoking, we have a wide range of solutions in store.
We offer blood pressure checks, so be sure to speak to your local Ramsay Pharmacy Pharmacist. To find your closest pharmacy, click here.