Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG) AS Fe­bru­ary is Na­tional Heart Month, I thought I should take a few mo­ments this week to of­fer a few tips on keep­ing your ticker in tip-top shape.

It’s a sad fact that 2.6 mil­lion peo­ple in the UK live with coronary heart dis­ease (CHD), while each year in the Cheshire East lo­cal au­thor­ity area, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases kill about 237 peo­ple un­der the age of 75 for ev­ery 100,000 peo­ple.

Yet there are lots of things we can do to look after our hearts. We should all aim to: ●● Eat a healthy, bal­anced diet ●● Be more phys­i­cally ac­tive ●● Main­tain a healthy weight ●● Drink sen­si­bly ●● Keep our blood pres­sure un­der con­trol ●● And it goes with­out say­ing that smok­ers should try hard to quit.

A low-fat, high-fi­bre diet is rec­om­mended, which should in­clude five daily por­tions of fresh fruit and vegetables plus whole grains.

You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than 6g a day as too much salt will in­crease your blood pres­sure.

Com­bin­ing a healthy diet with reg­u­lar ex­er­cise is the best way of main­tain­ing a healthy weight.

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.

You can find out the ideal weight for your age and height by vis­it­ing and search­ing for ‘healthy weight cal­cu­la­tor’.

Men shouldn’t drink more than three to four units of al­co­hol a day, while women shouldn’t ex­ceed two to three units.

Al­ways avoid binge drink­ing as this in­creases the risk of a heart at­tack.

You can keep your blood pres­sure un­der con­trol by eat­ing a healthy diet low in sat­u­rated fat, ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly and, if re­quired, tak­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­ca­tion to lower your blood pres­sure.

If you have high blood pres­sure, ask your GP to check it reg­u­larly.

Smoking causes fur­ring of the ar­ter­ies, which in­creases your risk of de­vel­op­ing CHD.

Re­search has shown you are up to four times more likely to suc­cess­fully give up smoking if you use NHS support to­gether with stop-smoking medicines such as patches or gum.

●● Dr Paul Bowen

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