1. Know your risk
Looking after your healthy heart starts with understanding your risk, so make sure you know all your health numbers. Visit your healthcare professional and ask for a few simple checks. Remember, knowledge is power.
Know your blood glucose levels
High blood glucose (blood sugar) can be indicative of diabetes. CVD (cardio vascular diseases) accounts for 60% of all deaths in people with diabetes so if it’s left undiagnosed and untreated it can put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Know your blood pressure
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for CVD. It’s called the ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it.
Know your numbers
Visit your healthcare professional and ask them to measure your cholesterol levels, weight and body mass index (BMI), as well as your blood pressure and blood glucose. They can then advise you on your CVD risk so you can plan to improve your heart health.
Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack
Over 70% of all cardiac and breathing emergencies occur in the home when a family member is present and could help a victim.
Talk to your healthcare professional about local cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) courses so you can help a loved-one in the event of a heart attack. If you suspect a family member is having a heart attack or stroke, seek medical help immediately.
2. Fuel your heart
Eating and drinking well gives your heart the fuel it needs for you to live your life. Today, make just a few simple changes to your diet to have a healthy heart and to help reduce your own and your family’s risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Try not to eat so many processed and prepackaged foods which are often high in sugar and fat
- Cut down on sugary beverages and fruit juices – choose water or unsweetened juices instead
- Swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit as a healthy alternative
- Try to eat 5 portions (about a handful) of fruit and vegetables a day – they can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried
- Make your own healthy school or work lunches at home
3. Move your heart
Physical inactivity can contribute significantly to heart disease as it can lead to unhealthy weight gain, diabetes and raised blood pressure. Today, take control of your heart health by getting more active.
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times a week
- Playing, walking, housework, dancing – they all count!
- Be more active every day – take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of driving
- Exercise with friends and family – you’ll be more motivated and it’s more fun!
- Before you start any exercise plan check with a healthcare professional
- Download an exercise app or use a pedometer to keep track of your progress
4. The best types of activity for Healthy Heart
- Aerobic exercise is especially good for your healthy heart – brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are all ideal
- Muscle strengthening exercises also help you to burn more calories to keep your weight healthy – try climbing stairs, walking uphill and digging in the garden.
- Stretching activities, like T’ai chi and yoga, can help to improve your flexibility.
5. Love your heart
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health. Today, make a commitment for your healthy heart to quit and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and that of those around you.
- Within 2 years of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is substantially reduced
- Within 15 years the risk of CVD returns to that of a non-smoker
- Exposure to second hand smoke is also a cause of heart disease in non-smokers, So by quitting you’ll not only improve your health but that of those around you
- If you’re having trouble stopping smoking, ask for professional advice on how to quit
- You can also ask your employer if they provide smoking-cessation services
Did you know?
Second hand smoke kills more than 600,000 non-smokers every year, including children.
6. Share the power
Your heart powers your whole body. It lets you love, laugh and live your life to the full.
That’s why it’s so important to look after it. If you don’t, you’re putting yourself at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke. CVD is the world’s number one killer. Each year, it’s responsible for 17.5 million premature deaths, and by 2030 this is expected to rise to 23 million.
But the good news is that much CVD can be prevented by making just a few simple daily changes, like eating and drinking more healthily, getting more exercise and stopping smoking.
This World Heart Day, we’re asking you to share how you power your heart and inspire millions of people around the world to be heart healthy.
So let’s make sure we all take action to keep our hearts charged and make a lasting difference to our health.
Fuel your heart. Move your heart. Love your heart.
And share the power.