-Free healthy heart event at Nuffield Health Bournemouth, Wednesday 14 October at 7pm

Women are three times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer. In the years following the menopause, your risk of getting heart disease rises significantly. Dr Talwar, consultant cardiologist at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital offers some simple steps to help women protect themselves.

 

Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked

“Ask your GP about having a health check to assess your risk of developing heart disease. This will include checking your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If your blood pressure or cholesterol levels are higher than they should be, it increases your risk of heart disease. Your GP can advise you on ways to help reduce them.”

 

Stop smoking to protect your heart

“You’re twice as likely to have a heart attack if you smoke. Over the past few decades, men have increasingly quit smoking but women haven’t followed the same trend. In fact, more young women now smoke than young men.”

 

Lose weight if you need to

“About three in five women in England are overweight or obese. Carrying excess weight (or body fat more specifically) puts a strain on your heart, and you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, all of which increase the risk of heart disease.”

 

Do more exercise to prevent heart disease

“Only about one in four women in England do enough physical activity to protect their hearts. Try to exercise more and include regular aerobic exercise such as walking and swimming. To protect your heart, you need to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking) every week.”

 

Think of your body fat distribution and risk of heart disease

“Your shape matters as well as your weight. If you carry excess weight around your waist, you are an ‘apple shape,’ whereas, those who carry the excess weight on the hips are ‘pear shaped.’ Many women in the 40-60 age group are ‘apple shaped,’ which puts them at a higher risk of heart disease than a pear shape. You must aim for a waistline of less than 80cm (31.5in).”

 

Drink alcohol in moderation to look after your heart

“There may be some benefits to your heart health from drinking alcohol in moderation, however, that is if you already drink. The limit for women is no more than one or two units of alcohol a day, although, I would recommend at least two alcohol free days in a week.  Ensure you stay within the recommended limits. Too much alcohol or binge drinking can damage the heart muscle which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure.”

 

Ensure you have a balanced diet

“You must eat healthily and be especially careful not to eat more salt than is recommended (no more than 6g per day, or about a teaspoon) as excess salt in the diet can increase your blood pressure. In the past, we have often been told to avoid eating saturated fat. However, modern science tells us that we should include some saturated fat in our diets to support cell and brain health. Eating saturated fat in small amounts through grass fed meats and butter, and cooking at high heats with coconut oil are all great ways to include these fats in your diet. You should try to avoid the trans fats often found lurking in cakes, biscuits and pastries as these have been linked to heart disease.”

 

Manage your stress

“Some studies have suggested that stress can contribute to heart disease. If you feel under a lot of stress, it’s important to learn how to manage it better. There are some simple techniques you can learn to help you cope with stress; there is a lot of focus on mindfulness at the moment. If stress and anxiety is affecting your daily life, your GP can support you.”

To learn more about how to keep your heart healthy, or to speak to an expert, the next event will be held at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital on Wednesday October 14 where you can meet Dr Talwar.  Places are limited therefore booking is essential via Customer Services on 01202 702830.

The event is part of Nuffield Health’s free events which are being held across the UK in September and October, 2015.