13 Feb REDUCING YOUR RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
The British Heart foundation says that cardiovascular disease kills as many women as men. Women are 3 times more likely to die of CVD than we are of breast cancer. Women are also less likely than men to call 999 if they are having a heart attack. The reason comes down to people being unaware of the symptoms. Some symptoms of heart attack can be different in women compared to men such as experiencing more sickness or indigestion, sweating more and have more radiating pain. Before the menopause, the risk if lower than men’s because of heart-protective effects of oestrogen. But after menopause the risk rises to the level of men’s.
How to prevent CVD:
- Don’t smoke – if you smoke, it lowers the levels of good HDL cholesterol while the chemicals in cigarettes make bad LDL cholesterol much more likely to stick to your arteries and cause heart disease.
- Control your blood pressure
- Reduce your cholesterol levels
- Be physically active – exercise helps to increase HDL cholesterol and plays a role in weight loss and maintenance too. It can also reduce blood pressure, relieve stress and reduce your risk of diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Control blood glucose if you have diabetes
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with moderate amounts of alcohol
- Manage stress (a new study by Harvard Medical School says that stress if related to damage to your arteries)
Knowing the symptoms:
- Angina – heaviness or tightness in the chest, arm, neck, stomach or jaw. Breathlessness is also common.
- Heart attack – chest pain, pain in the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach, sweating, dizziness shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting.
- Cardiac arrest – unconsciousness and inability to breathe normally.
- Heart failure – breathlessness, fatigue and swelling of the feet, ankles, stomach and lower back.
- Abnormal heart rhythm – heart beating too fast, too slow or in an irregular pattern.
Foods that help your heart:
- Oats – soluble fibre beta-glucan helps lower cholesterol.
- Fruit and vegetables
- Pulses – recent study found that eating 130g a day of pulses can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5%.
- Nuts – a daily portion of 20g of nuts reduces the risk of heart disease by 30%, cancer by 15% and premature death by 22%. This also makes you 40% less likely to develop diabetes.
- Plant stanols or sterols – found in Benecol and Flora ProActive can help lower cholesterol.
- Soya products – these help stop cholesterol from being absorbed into your bloodstream.