Updated: Feb 17
World Heart Day ❣️September the 29th
Heart health issues surround each and every one of us. Our friends, family, colleagues, it's all around us, heart health issues can devastate a family in minutes. It's something that we should all consider in our early years to form healthy habits that will support us in our later years. Heart health is an issue very close to my own heart since losing my mother to a heart attack, losing a friend only recently and having a father suffering with atrial fibrillation. Cardiovascular disease is the world’s number one killer today. 17.9 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease. Including heart disease and stroke.
These small changes made today could help invest in better future heart health for both you and your loved ones.
Cook and eat more healthily for you and your family. Choose to bake, grill, steam, poach, boil over fried food and takeaways. Season foods with herbs and spices over choosing cheese and cream.
Snack on a handful of nuts, they lower cholesterol and walnuts are a rich source of Omega 3 which can decrease inflammation in the arteries. Sprinkle flaxseed like heart helping fairy dust!! Again, like walnuts they are packed with Omega 3, they also add fibre to the diet which can help with cholesterol
Exercise more and help children to be more active. Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your breathing.
Cut down on alcohol, Drinking too much alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle and other diseases such as stroke, liver problems and some cancers. Some research suggests that red wine may be beneficial for heart health; yet more research is needed.
Stop smoking and help those around you to break this habit. It increases stiffness in the blood vessels. According to The Heart Foundation (2019) One year after quitting, your risk of a heart attack or stroke is reduced by half. In 5 to 15 years, your risk of stroke and coronary heart disease returns to that of someone who has never smoked.
Reduce stress and practice stress reducing modalities such as acupuncture, meditation, tai chi, yoga. Scientists have discovered those that practiced transcendental meditation reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by half!
Get Social! Meet up with friends, start a new class or actively make an excuse to see people. Social psychologist John Cacioppo claims that loneliness raises the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can interfere with circulation, making the heart work harder. This is linked to hardening of the arteries, which leads to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. (Age UK)
If overweight, loose weight. Losing just 5% of your body weight can make a huge difference to heart health. This reduces both blood pressure and cholesterol when achieved gradually.
Give blood, it’s also a wonderful thing to do. In Finland the Kuopio Heart Disease Risk Study explored the incidence of heart attacks between those that donated blood and those who did not. In 2862 men aged 42-60, in non donors 12.5% experienced an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and those that donated blood had a 0.7% experience rate. This equates to a huge 88% reduced risk of heart attack to those who donated blood. These findings suggest that frequent blood loss through voluntary blood donations may be associated with a reduced risk of acute myocardial infarction in middle-aged men.
How does acupuncture support heart health?
Taking small steps to improve your health will in turn support heart health. Traditional acupuncture can help support you in making lifestyle changes such as diet, reducing alcohol, quitting smoking , stress management to reduce hypertension, and improving sleep. Traditional acupuncture is a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
Heart Foundation (2019) Availble at https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/smoking-and-your-heart
Jukka T. Salonen, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Riitta Salonen, Timo A. Lakka, Kristiina Nyyssonen, Donation of Blood Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Myocardial Infarction: The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 148, Issue 5, 1 September 1998, Pages 445–451, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009669
World Heart Federation (2019) Available at https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/