What can you do if you’re living with heart disease?

Heart disease  is a broad, catch-all term for any condition affecting the health of your heart or vascular system, and includes conditions like peripheral arterial disease, angina, aortic disease, stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Robina 7 day doctors and Acupuncture recommend this video on heart disease:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06kbd9y

Treatment is more successful and survival rates are higher than ever before. So what can you do to manage and even improve your health if you’re living with heart disease?

Weight

If you are overweight or obese you are more likely to develop coronary heart disease than someone who is a healthy weight. Research shows that being overweight or obese can:

  • Raise your blood cholesterol levels
  • Increase your blood pressure
  • Increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

If you’re overweight or obese, a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you lose weight. Aim to get your BMI below 25.

Exercise

If you already have heart disease, physical activity can help protect your heart and reduce your risk of having further heart problems. It can also help you to recover from a heart attack or treatment such as heart surgery.

Studies show that even 30 minutes a day of light activity, such as housework or walking, can improve your heart function and reduce your levels of the type of cholesterol that’s associated with heart disease.

Diet

A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than 6g and avoid foods containing saturated fats because they increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. A balanced diet should still include unsaturated fats, which have been shown to increase levels of good cholesterol and help reduce any blockage in your arteries.

Avoid too much sugar as this can increase your chances of developing diabetes, which is proven to dramatically increase your chances of developing heart disease.

Stop smoking

Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as people who have never smoked. Stopping smoking has huge benefits and it’s never too late to give up – it is the single best thing you can do for your heart health.

Medication

Take your medication! Studies have shown that heart attack patients who stopped taking their medication increased their chances of having another cardiac arrest by 50%.

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