Vascular Disease Awareness Month is already underway this week in a campaign to encourage the UK to become more aware of the risks before it’s too late. Vascular disease affects the blood flow to vital muscles and organs including the heart, which can often lead to heart attack.
Various studies have shown that as many as 20% of over 60’s have some form of vascular disease which could have been prevented by small lifestyle changes. If you think it’s time to make some positive changes, then step it up for September - by following our healthy tips towards a happy, healthy heart.
Know your risk
Many people who have vascular disease do not always experience symptoms until it is too late. Symptoms include leg pain and aches when exercising, which can often be mistaken for signs of growing older. Vascular disease can also run in the family. If you know a relative who suffers with the disease make sure your doctor is aware of this and don’t wait for symptoms to appear, but seek advice on how to lead a heart healthy lifestyle.
Avoid the smoke
Smoking has been known to increase the risk of vascular disease for over a century and is still the worst culprit. By quitting smoking you can reduce your risk of furring of your arteries and keep your heart beating for longer. There are many ways to gain support so take the plunge and breathe easy this month.
Having a healthy varied diet can help reduce your overall risk of vascular disease. Make your meals exciting by using a variety of foods, colours, textures and recipes whilst seeking cheaper seasonal options so you don’t get bored and aim to achieve your 5-a-day. Moderate saturated fat intake by swapping for a variety of heart healthy fats from foods such as nuts, avocados and oily fish. Get salt savvy by swapping processed foods for fresh ingredients and using seasoning like garlic, paprika and ground pepper to maximise taste.
Get your body on course
One of the main ways in which you can reduce your risk of vascular disease is by leading an active lifestyle, so make time for your heart by introducing exercise to your daily routine. Current recommendations state that we should be aiming for 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise. Exercise can be made fun by joining clubs or attending classes and you could even make this part of your 50 day challenge.