Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and while most people are thinking about who they want to give their hearts to (figuratively, of course), perhaps we should also be thinking of whose hands to put our hearts in. Our hearts work every second of every day, so it’s imperative that we take excellent care of it.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both males and females in Australia3. You may not know the risk factors for heart disease and may be oblivious to your heart health, as often the warning signs may not be obvious. That is why it’s so important to have regular heart health checks with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.
A heart check can often be done during a regular check-up and will entail your practitioner taking a blood sample, checking your blood pressure, and taking a complete medical history to factor in external causes such as your lifestyle and family history1.
When it comes to heart health, there are risk factors that are out of your control, such as your age, gender, ethnic background, and family history2. However, there are also several aspects you can be consciously mindful of. These include things like smoking, unhealthy diets, high cholesterol and blood pressure, being inactive or overweight, diabetes and depression2.
One aspect of enhancing heart health that is easily controllable and will likely have a significant impact on your heart is simple changes to your diet. This includes things like eating healthy fats instead of trans fats. That is because trans fats are known to increase your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and decrease your good cholesterol (HDL) levels4. This translates to forgoing fried foods, baked goods, frozen pizzas, etc. and instead of swapping them out for more healthy fats, such as avocados, oily fish (like salmon and tuna) and olive oil/nut butters.
If you are still worried about your heart health, in addition to seeing your healthcare practitioner, there are several other resources online that may assist you in correctly identifying your symptoms. Health Direct Australia offers a free symptom checker, which can be found here. You can also check out The Heart Foundation’s website to find out more information, assess your risk factors and learn how to manage your symptoms.
Finally, you can come and visit us at the Wellnation Clinic, where our student nutritionists can personally tailor your diet to optimise your heart health. Alternatively, our myotherapy students can help give you exercises that will get your heart muscle working to build up some extra strength. The clinic is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout summer school. To book, call 1 300 859 785 or book online.
1. The Heart Foundation. Heart health check [Internet]. The Heart Foundation. [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/heart-health-check
2. The Heart Foundation. Heart attack risk factors [Internet]. The Heart Foundation. [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/heart-attack-risk-factors
3. Australia’s leading causes of death, 2016 [Internet]. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Government. [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2016~Main%20Features~Australias%2...
4. Gillinov, Marc. 5 Things to Do Daily to Keep Your Heart Healthy [Internet]. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. 2017 [cited 2018Jan16]. Available from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/01/5-things-to-do-daily-to-keep-your-heart-healthy/