Local GPs get to the heart of the matter for National Heart Month
GPs in Wandsworth are encouraging local residents to get 'heart smart' throughout February to reduce their risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in support of National Heart Month.
Cardiovascular diseases are a wide range of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, including stroke, heart attack and heart failure. It's the second biggest killer in the UK after cancer, claiming over 155,000 victims every year.
"Two hundred thousand people in London are known by their GP to have heart disease, and a further ninety six thousand have had a stroke or mini-stroke (also known as a transient ischaemic attack – TIA). There are some well-known risk factors for these serious conditions, and you can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by making some simple lifestyle changes.
Over 1m people in London are known to have high blood pressure (hypertension), but there are many more people who have high blood pressure and are not aware of it. If you have high blood pressure which is not controlled, you increase your risk of developing a cardiovascular condition.
By taking some simple steps to live a healthier lifestyle you can reduce your risk of developing CVD and ensure you stay fit and healthy for longer" explains Dr Nicola Jones, local GP and Chair of NHS Wandsworth CCG.
Keep it healthy
Make sure you eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and little salt and added sugar.
Get on your feet
Every little helps, so take a lunchtime walk or evening stroll, or cycle down to shop to pick up your Sunday newspaper. Try and build up to 30 minutes each day – you'll feel better for it!
Keep an eye on the pounds
Keeping a healthy weight can help you cut your risk of developing CVD. Understand your BMI (Body Mass Index) – 18-25 is classed as healthy. Following the first two steps on this list should help you to maintain a healthy weight no problem!
Stub it out!
We all know smoking is bad for us – but did you know that smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers? For help and advice on kicking the habit, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree.
Bin the booze
Know your limits, and stick to less than 14 units a week. Also ensure you have a few alcohol-free days each week, and don't save up your units to down in one go – Neither your heart or liver will thank you for it!
"Don't forget that if you're age 40-74, you're eligible for a free NHS Health Check with your GP" continues Dr Jones.
"A Health Check can help to spot the early signs of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension) or high cholesterol, enabling you to make changes to your lifestyle and prevent further problems from developing."
"Thousands of people living in Wandsworth have received an NHS Health Check. It will help you understand your cardiovascular risk and can help you get on the right track to living a healthier life."
To book your free NHS Health Check, contact your GP practice.
For more hints and tips on keeping heart healthy, visit www.bhf.org.uk.