02 February 2018
As part of a series of Q&As we'll be answering your health questions.
Dr Khalid Khan, consultant cardiologist at Spire Yale Hospital tells us how you can improve your health ahead of National Heart Month.
Q. A close friend recently suffered a heart attack. I’m worried the same thing could happen to me. What can I do to avoid it?
I have good news for you; 80% of premature heart attacks are preventable (according to WHO) with a healthy diet, regular physical activity and not smoking, so you can do plenty to reduce your chances.
Lifestyle and medication are key to helping reduce your risk of a heart attack – even for your friend who’s suffered one already. Anyone at any age can benefit from a few simple steps to keep their heart healthy throughout it's life.
Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump your blood, which raises blood pressure. Losing just a few pounds can make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health. Regular exercise will help you to lose weight and lower your blood pressure. Try low impact activities like walking, swimming and cycling.
An unhealthy diet, high in fat will increase your risk of a heart attack. Avoid foods containing high levels of saturated fat as they increase levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. Things like meat pies, sausage rolls, cakes and chocolate should be avoided. Eating a low fat diet, with plenty of fruit and fibre will help to lower blood pressure. You should aim to eat around five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
According to the British Heart Foundation, smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as those that have never smoked. It damages the lining of your arteries, reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and stimulates your body to produce adrenaline - all of this putting unnecessary extra pressure on your heart. Your blood is also more likely to clot, increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health.
To find out more about keeping your heart healthy, visit www.bhf.org.uk.
Dr Khan is a consultant cardiologist at Spire Yale hospital, to book a consultation call 01978 268035.