Looking after your heart one chance

There will be 45000 deaths caused by cardiac disease this year according to the latest research by the Heart research institute.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 17 million people around the world died from cardiovascular disease in 2008, and due to the growing epidemics of diabetes and obesity, this number is expected to surge to 23 million by 2030. This means we have to prepare for a virtual tsunami of cardiovascular disease in the coming 20-30 years.

I’m sure you would not want to be one of them; so what are the risk factors and who is putting themselves at risk of a heart attack. 30% of the population is overweight or obese; to add to this the majority of us are inactive for several hours each day leading to increased risk of preventable disease caused by inactivity. Giving rise to weight gain, stress and increasing blood pressure particularly prevalent in the work place, I see people every week in my position as a health manager; most of whom show raised or borderline blood pressure, most had no idea!

If your blood pressure is approaching 140/90 and your heart rate is over 80-100 beats per minutes when you are sitting down you should be trying to look at ways to change your lifestyle to help lower it. A raised Blood pressure is an early warning signal that could if ignored lead to a more serious cardiac incident.

Risk factors include:

being overweight, Sedentary, with little or no activity, suffering from Stress, Tiredness or Irritability.

How to understand what this means to you, how you come to work out what to change in your lifestyle and fit it around your work and family.

Overweight – a very simple rule of thumb method to work this out in Metric is take your height in centimetres, take off the meter and the balance should equal your ideal weight in kilograms. Eg 171cms height would be 71kgs in weight. If you find you are 90kgs you would e looking to lose around 19kgs. In rare circumstances for example in very muscular individuals the equation would not be suitable however if you are not a body builder or a rugby player and carrying this weight around your waist then it does apply and you need to lose the fat.

Men with a waist circumference of 94cm or more (about 37 inches) and women with a waist circumference of 80cm or more (about 31.5 inches) are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems


You should be moving around every hour failing to do so reduce blood flow to the heart and will contribute to reduced oxygen to the muscles, increases in internal inflammation, reduced cardiac efficiency; increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. All you need to remember is to get up from whatever you are doing and move around for 5-10 minutes every hour. Take calls standing up, walk the stairs, housework and a brisk walk could help you burn up an additional 25000 calories and lose a ½ stone.

Stress – tiredness

Can be an early sign of a downward spiral in your health, you may not be sleeping all that well; have to be up at an early hour for work or family, which will run you down and if left unresolved can lead to increased blood pressure. Try to get 7-9 hours’ sleep each night to allow your hormones to balance out and fully recover over night. You should wake in the morning with a vigour for life not left feeling like you need a caffein hit to get going.

The exercise solution is free with no charge to you right now

This is not a glib statement is actually all evidence based if you exercise on a regular frequency your risk of all the common lifestyle diseases are reduced by 52% according to the NHS in England.

You don’t even need to join a gym to benefit from this remedy, think about it can you get up and be more active for two hours a day and spend that time NOT sitting.

How does exercise benefit me?

Mechanically speaking it improves the elasticity of the arteries and all other soft tissue, lowering blood pressure and raising your HDL levels which can help to reduce your bad cholesterol levels (LDL).

Improving your heart health and the majority of other common lifestyle conditions: Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.

“If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”  Dr Nick Cavill

The facts:

It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia


Take away message

Look after your heart and start to exercise now

Advice on exercise can be found in my book or by visiting the NHS website your local health & fitness centre

If you or a close one are new to exercise, start slowly and progress gradually monitoring your progress using a Heart rate monitor, Fitbit or one of the many apps available for your phone if in doubt about your health always consult a doctor.



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