This February as part of Heart Health Month WELL are focusing on heart health and ways to reduce the risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). CHD is the most common type of heart and circulatory disease. It occurs when coronary arteries become narrowed by a build-up of atheroma, a fatty material within their walls. CHD is one of Northern Ireland’s leading causes of death.
You can help lower your risk of developing CHD by making healthy changes to your lifestyle that will benefit your mental, physical and heart health:
Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way of maintaining a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure.
Regular exercise will make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. People who don't exercise are twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who exercise regularly. The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, benefits from exercise. Any aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and dancing, makes your heart work harder and keeps it healthy.
If you drink, don't exceed the maximum recommended limits.
If you smoke, giving up will reduce your risk of developing CHD. Smoking is a major risk factor for developing atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries). It also causes the majority of cases of coronary thrombosis in people under the age of 50.