Everyone needs to look after their heart. Medical science has improved so much over the last century, but some things are still irreversible.
Heart disease is a terrible illness to suffer with, or to witness a loved one deal with.
However, in a few easy steps, it is possible to help protect the heart from becoming diseased and keep it in good condition.
The simplest way to achieve this is to eat a healthy diet, low in saturated fats. Not all fats are bad, but foods which are high in saturated fats, such as takeaway foods, can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. By cutting down on these types of food and eating whole grains, fruit and foods containing the good fats, it will help protect the heart.
Another way to keep the heart in good condition is by exercising regularly. Most people these days work in jobs which are not particularly active. As such the body can become lazy and less fit. The impact on the heart means it cannot cope as easily when the heart rate is raised.
The average adult in the UK should do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity per day to keep the heart healthy.
Regular exercise, even of the low impact variety such as walking, will help keep the heart in good order.
Being overweight can put a strain on the heart. As such, the more overweight a person is, the more it can strain the heart and lead to heart attacks or other problems. In this situation, an individual is usually referred to a cardiologist or a dietician for assistance. Losing weight as well as good eating and exercise habits will help keep the heart healthy.
Other factors need to be considered also, which may affect the heart. Stress and anxiety can affect the heart rate, meaning that it never reverts back to its resting rate. The build up of stress and anxiety can lead to higher blood pressure, which in turn can affect blood flow to the heart and cause attacks.
Couple stress and anxiety with an unhealthy lifestyle and the heart becomes a ticking time bomb. However, it is relatively easy to make lifestyle adjustments which can improve the health of the heart.
Of course, there are sometimes high profile incidents which can make it seem as if a heart attack can occur in a person who leads a good, healthy lifestyle. For example, the Fabrice Muamba incident, where the professional footballer had a cardiac arrest on the pitch. Fabrice made what appeared to be a miraculous recovery before retiring from football for good. However, it is widely recognised by cardiologists that it was the strength and fitness of his heart that helped Fabrice pull through his ordeal.
Article contributed by Dr William Smith, Cardiologist.