Supporting Wear It Beat It

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Today celebrates the “Wear It. Beat It.” campaign for British Heart Foundation to raise money for life saving research.

It is thought that more than 2 million people in the UK are living with coronary heart disease, whilst almost one million others are affected by heart failure every year. Are you wearing red today to pledge your support?

Your heart is such an important muscle, about the size of your fist, and it works harder than you realise. It beats on average 100,000 times a day, pumping blood around our body and removing the toxins we don’t need. Therefore, it is vitally important, whatever our age, to look after our hearts.

Unfortunately, there are many people who need to pay more attention to their hearts than others, and it’s a known fact that coronary heart disease is a major cause of death globally. Although everyone’s symptoms are different the main ones to be aware of are:

  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Heart attacks
  • Heart failure

Coronary heart disease is caused by fatty deposits blocking the arteries and you usually carry an increased risk of developing it if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Don’t regularly exercise
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a family history of coronary heart disease

Having a heart disease covers many different conditions including:

  • Heart failure
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Vascular disease

It is common for these conditions to be controlled with medication dependent on the specific problem suffered, but in some circumstances surgery could be required. There are things you can do to help ease any symptoms and equally prevent heart disease occurring such as having a good diet and exercise regime, don’t smoke, keep an eye on your weight and avoid unnecessary stress.

Your diet is a big factor in your overall health and your risks for heart disease. For your diet why not try:

  • An array of fruit and vegetables
  • Foods that contain a lot of starch like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Non-dairy sources of protein like meat, fish and eggs
  • Small amounts of fat and sugar

One important component in diet is saturated fat. This can increase your blood cholesterol and in turn increase your chances of developing coronary heart disease. Saturated fat is found in foods like beef, lamb, pork, cheese, butter and whole milk, so only eat these in moderation.

Alongside diet goes exercise. You don’t have to start marathon running but get yourself active to help lower your chances of developing a heart disease. Health Shield always try and offer help and advice to stay active throughout the year so why not start small and make some big changes to your life.

Some top tips to get a healthier lifestyle:

  • Start small with your goals and rather than throw yourself into a running regime, start walking a few times a week
  • Make exercise part of your day no matter what you do, even if it’s taking the stairs rather than the lift
  • Involve family and friends to make it more fun
  • Reward yourself when you reach a goal, that way you’ll keep going. Whether you treat yourself to that little something you’ve had your eye on for a while, or look after your wellbeing by having a relaxing massage.

Smoking — a huge factor in whether you are at an increased risk of heart disease or not. The best thing you can do for your heart health if you are a smoker is quit. That is easier said than done, as it could be a long path to quit smoking, but think of your health and the money you’d save if you did — you could treat yourself to a special holiday. Second hand smoke is just as dangerous as being a smoker so please consider your friends and family when deciding to smoke in their presence.

Many people can live a happy life with coronary heart problems, but ensure you take the steps to prevent anything happening to the most important muscle in your body.

As a Health Shield member, you may be covered for specialist consultation appointments if this is applicable to your plan. Log in to the Health Shield Members’ Area to view your plan and benefits available to you.