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Lesser Known Risks Of Heart Disease and Stroke  

The Healthy EmployeeBlood pressure & heart disease Lesser Known Risks Of Heart Disease and Stroke  
Blood Heart Circulation

Lesser Known Risks Of Heart Disease and Stroke  

With February being national Heart Month, are you aware of these lesser known risks heart disease and stroke? Around 7.4 million people in the UK are living with heart and circulatory diseases – this is approximately twice the amount as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease combined.

Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a quarter (27%) of all deaths in the UK – one death every 3 minutes.

Do you know how to reduce your risk? Below we have some less commonly known information, how this may affect your risk and what you can do to improve.

 

COMMONLY KNOWN
RARELY KNOWN
WHY?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
FIBRE
Eating plenty of fibre is important for gut health

 

The microorganisms in your gut could have an impact on your risk of heart disease
Microorganisms within the gut could have the potential to reduce cholesterol and influence the immune response
Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day
Opt for high fibre wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice and wholegrain bread
Consume pulses such as beans, peas and lentils
CENTRAL OBESITY
Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease and stroke
Where you carry excess fat will have an impact on your risk of heart disease and stroke
Fat around your waist can increase your risk of heart disease
Maintain a healthy waist measurement:
Men = 94cm or less
Women = 80cm or less
SALT
A high salt diet will increase your risk of heart disease and stroke
Other minerals are important with considering your risk of heart disease and stroke. These include, calcium, potassium and magnesium
Research suggests that minerals play a role in preventing high blood pressure
Food sources include:
Magnesium: Lentils, nuts, seeds and wholegrains
Calcium: Dairy food, green leafy vegetables, bread
Potassium: Parsnips, Brussels sprouts, bananas, nuts, seeds, milk, fish, poultry
Keep salt intake to less than 6g/day (approx.1tsp)
VITAMINS & MINERALS
We need a wide range of vitamins and minerals for good health
Supplements are not a sufficient replacement for vitamins and minerals from food
A diet rich in varied vitamins and minerals may contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease, but there has been no evidence that supplements of the same vitamins and minerals have the same impact
Eat a wide and varied diet rich in whole plant-based foods
SATURATED FAT
A diet high in saturated fat will lead to an increased risk of heart disease
What you consume instead of the saturated fat is important if you are to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke
If you swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats, this can increase your overall health and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you replace saturated fats with sugar and refined carbohydrates, this can increase your cholesterol and blood sugar, further increasing your risk of heart disease
Opt for foods high in unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat, such as:
Walnut oil, linseed, sesame seeds sunflower seeds, avocado, pine nuts, oily fish, olives, nuts, olive oil
Limit your consumption of refined carbohydrates and choose wholegrains instead
SLEEP
Having enough good quality sleep is important for overall health and wellbeing
Too little or poor-quality sleep has been linked to and increased risk of heart disease and stroke
Too little sleep has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Poor quality sleep has been linked to an even greater increase
Aim for between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night
ALCOHOL
Drinking alcohol to excess will not benefit your health
Binge drinking or overall excess alcohol consumption can increase a wide range of heart disease and stroke risk factors
Excess and binge drinking has been linked to excess weight gain around the waist, increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and blood clotting
Drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week
Spread this consumption evenly throughout the week whilst having at least 2 consecutive alcohol-free days
STRESS
Stress is linked to high blood pressure
Stress in the workplace can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke
Studies have shown exposure to stress to activate specific areas in the brain that lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure. This has also been shown to be the case when under job-related pressure or experiencing long working hours
If stress is a factor in your life, look into ways in which this can be improved. Exercise, meditation, mindfulness and yoga have all shown good results
EXERCISE
Taking regular exercise will help with overall heart health
Sitting for long periods of time can have a significant impact on your heart disease and stroke risk, which is something that partaking in physical activity cannot compensate for
Although exercise has been shown to increase overall heart health, research shows that time spent being sedentary has been linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Have breaks from your desk by walking around for a few minutes every half an hour
Minimise sedentary activity such as being on your computer or watching tv
Walk or cycle wherever possible
Partake in at least 150 minutes or moderate intensity activity per week to improve overall health and fitness
SMOKING
Smoking will increase your risk of heart disease and stroke
Smoking narrows arteries, and makes your blood more likely to clot
Compounds within cigarettes damage the lining of your blood vessels, and makes your blood cells more likely to clot
Don’t smoke, and if you do, seek help in quitting from your GP

 

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