Happy World Heart Day everyone. Life is more beautiful and more fun when you have a heart that beats right. More than 60 million people worldwide have heart failure.
In Malaysia, heart failure is a significant public health issue, affecting 6.7% of the population. It’s the leading cause of hospitalisation for patients over 65 years old.
Malaysians are more likely to develop heart failure due to prevalent risk factors such as insufficient physical activity and raised blood glucose levels among others.
Yes - Heart failure is deadlier than many cancers and this is a worrying trend.
So, how did this World Heart Day come about?
To fight the numbers of people dying from heart disease, the World Heart Federation created World Heart Day which is celebrated annually on 29 September. World heart Day is about raising awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD), one of the world's leading causes of death. The aim is to drive action to educate people that by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided. Governments and non-government organizations used to celebrate and promote World Heart Day with activities such as fun runs, public talks, concerts, and sporting events.
Moving forward here`s the Good News. It’s not all gloom and doom. Heart disease is largely preventable, and so it's important to know what you should do to improve your heart health. Get ready to feel good from head to toe and how to keep a healthy heartbeat by changing your lifestyle habits and following these tips below.
Do Maintain a Healthy Diet.
Eat better and a healthy, balanced diet is key to optimal health, including heart health.
Remember to concentrate on portion sizes, more veggies, and fruits, consume whole grains and at least two servings of ‘fatty’ fish high in omega 3 fatty acids each week.
Keep your sodium intake to a teaspoon of salt a day. The important thing here is to maintain the right balance to ensure your diet is tasty and nutritious.
Do Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Once cleared by your physician, one of the best ways to combat heart disease is to ‘get moving.’ Just 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week.
Walking is a wonderful exercise and reduces stress hormones, and who says reducing stress is not good for your heart!
For the elderly walking is the best exercise too as it reduces blood pressure and increases the metabolic rate.
Do Maintain a Good Posture
Did you know that bad posture reduces your breathing capacity and limits circulation?
Having a good posture with shoulders pulled back affects your positive mental attitude that will provide a balance state of being and a happy heart.
On the flip side as we all know; poor posture can make you more susceptible to injury.
Do Manage your Stress Levels
Try not to get angry as studies have shown to link anger and stress to heart disease and these negative emotions account for 30% of heart attacks and strokes.
Try relaxation methods like listening to joyful music, laughing your guts out, and other alternatives to manage stress to reduce heart disease risks.
Do Sleep More and Rest
Make sleep a priority. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights.
We’ve all heard it before, sleep is directly tied to health as well as weight loss, but did you know that it is not about being a morning or night person, it is about having a CONSISTENT sleep schedule.
Consistency is key. So, it’s best to find the right amount for you and be sure to get your rest.
Smoking is the #1 contributor to heart disease and puts one at risk for cancer and future heart attacks.
The good news is, the moment you stop smoking, the risks are immediately reduced. So, what are you waiting for? Quit now!
Don’t Sit for Hours
Sitting for long periods of time can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Even if you exercise regularly sitting at a desk for extended periods of time is not advised.
The Work from Home (WFH) new normal in this pandemic era certainly does not help but there’s a way to confront this.
Get up and walk around every hour for 10 minutes or even get up and stretch every half hour.
By being proactive in this way, you will reduce eye strain from the computer, combat poor posture, and trigger blood flow to re-engage and stimulate the brain
Don’t Keep Your Frustrations Bottled Up
As stated in the “Do’s,” stress is a key component in emotional and heart health.
When you bottle up stress, your body can take it on internally causing ulcers, skin irritations, heart disease as well as other major health issues.
Release your stress by working out or even venting to someone you trust.
Don’t Neglect your Dental Care
Your teeth and gums are a telling sign of your heart health. New research shows that gum disease causes bacteria that can lead to inflammation in the body.
Don’t put off the dentist visit and be sure to brush your teeth and floss daily.
Don’t Indulge in Excessive Alcohol Consumption
You’ve read and or heard reports that small amounts of alcohol may be good for the heart, but alcohol in excess – not the case.
Having more than two drinks per day puts you at greater risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and heart failure.
Not to mention, those extra calories.
Don’t Put on Excessive Weight
Being overweight puts wear on the body, joints and blood vessels putting stress on the heart. Make attempts to lose weight and maintain the weight
Put Your Heart First. Be serious and follow the above tips as it’s all in the name of keeping your ticker in good working order and improving your health. A happy heart is a healthy heart. Stay happy and live longer!