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Healthy Heart Month in Thanet

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 28/01/2014 13:11:05

NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to look at adopting lifestyle changes during February’s Healthy Heart Month.

In the Thanet 5,349, people are registered as having coronary heart disease (CHD) – more than 3.8 per cent of the population.

The usual cause of CHD is a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries that surround the heart. This can make coronary arteries narrower and restrict the flow of blood to the heart which increases the risk of heart attack. People are at higher risk if they: 

•have high blood pressure (hypertension)
•have a high blood cholesterol level
•do not take regular exercise
•have diabetes.

Other risk factors for developing atherosclerosis include being obese or overweight and  having a family history of CHD. This risk is increased if someone has a male relative with CHD under the age of 55 or a female relative under the age of 65.

People from an African Caribbean background have a higher risk of high blood pressure than all other ethnic groups in the UK. Coronary heart disease rates are at their highest in South Asian communities.

The good news, however, is that there are many ways of reducing the risk of CHD and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These include:

• Eating a balanced and healthy diet – and going easy on salt.
• Avoiding eating too much food that contains saturated fat, such as cakes and biscuits, cream and hard cheese.
• Being more physically active.
• Keeping to a healthy weight.
• Quitting smoking.
• Reducing alcohol consumption and sticking to recommended guidelines.
• Keeping blood pressure under control.
• Cutting down on sugar – too much sugar in the diet can increase the chances of diabetes which will, in turn, increase the chances of developing CHD.

The CCG’s clinical lead for long-term conditions, Dr John Neden, said: “Making life changes is never easy for many people – particularly in an area such as Thanet, with its areas of high deprivation. Many feel that their personal circumstances dictate their choices.

“But the sad reality is that coronary heart disease can blight lives and cause suffering – and this disease is strongly linked to lifestyle. But it’s possible for all of us to review our daily routine, such as making improvements to our diet, quitting smoking, exercising more or reducing alcohol consumption.

“By making these positive changes, many can gain control and lead healthier and happier lives and avoid the diagnosis of coronary heart disease.”

Healthy Heart Month runs from 1 to 28 February. For more information about heart disease, visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk or the British Heart Foundation at www.bhf.org.uk

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