Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● DR Paul Bowen, 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 would take the op­por­tu­nity to talk about main­tain­ing a healthy heart and cir­cu­la­tion.

It’s a sad fact that heart at­tacks kill hun­dreds of peo­ple in East­ern Cheshire each year.

Many more peo­ple will have heart at­tacks, strokes or angina that are thank­fully not fa­tal, but will leave peo­ple dis­abled and trau­ma­tised.

Heart at­tacks hap­pen be­cause of clots form­ing in the blood ves­sels around the heart.

They block off blood, and there­fore oxy­gen, to the heart mus­cle, re­sult­ing in se­vere chest pain, breath­less­ness, sweati­ness and nau­sea.

Col­lapse and the heart stop­ping can fol­low, warn­ing signs can be sim­i­lar, and 999 should be called if th­ese symp­toms de­velop.

See your GP if you are wor­ried about re­cent symp­toms like chest pains.

But preven­tion is bet­ter than cure, and there are lots of things that we can do to re­duce the chance of a heart at­tack.

The cir­cu­la­tion to our heart, as well as our brains and limbs, can be im­proved through:

Eat­ing a healthy, bal­anced diet, be­ing more phys­i­cally ac­tive and main­tain­ing a healthy weight

Stop­ping smok­ing – the most ef­fec­tive of all in­ter­ven­tions

Check­ing your blood pres­sure and keep­ing it well un­der con­trol

Check­ing your choles­terol from the age of 40, es­pe­cially if you have a fam­ily his­tory of stroke or car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease

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

Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise will also make your heart and blood cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem more ef­fi­cient, lower your choles­terol level and also keep your blood pres­sure at a healthy level.

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

Tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for blood pres­sure, or statins for choles­terol, can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce your risk of heart at­tacks and strokes if you have high blood pres­sure or choles­terol.

Dis­cuss your risk of heart dis­ease with your prac­tice nurse or GP, hav­ing had th­ese checked first.

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