Healthy Happy Hearts

11th, February 2015

So many people in Northern Ireland are neglecting the health of their hearts and many deaths last year could potentially have been prevented if undiagnosed heart –related problems had been discovered sooner and interventions instigated which would have saved those lives.

Happy Hearts

So many people in Northern Ireland are neglecting the health of their hearts and many deaths last year could potentially have been prevented if undiagnosed heart –related problems had been discovered sooner and interventions instigated which would have saved those lives. 

Northern Ireland has for many years had the dubious honour of being among the top three countries in the world with serious heart problems caused by coronary artery disease. The world renowned Ulster Fry and other dietary and smoking related habits are largely to blame, but there is a family related  genetic preponderance to a degree. Being overweight, sedentary and having a poor diet and being a smoker all contribute to a high rate of heart attacks and other heart disease - and all of these are avoidable!

A lot of people often forget how important it is to keep a check on vital organs such as the heart. They often pay more attention to the things they see visually and disregard on the ones they can't see. Don't let 2015 be the year that you turn a blind eye!

There are ways that your Doctor or GP Nurse can check your heart to see that all is well, or if all is not well to find whatever is wrong and treat or refer appropriately and promptly.

People in the province can do something about this themselves by getting some weight off, doing some regular exercise ( 20-30 minutes brisk walking 3-5 times per week is sufficient), stopping smoking and ensuring that they don’t have high blood pressure by getting it checked and treated if appropriate.

Many GP practices have a dedicated Heart Clinic where a GP or GP Nurse can check out the health of your heart. If they do not have this at the practice that you attend, this is available privately at Kingsbridge Private Hospital and other private healthcare facilities. Blood pressure readings and other tests will give you the information you need to make changes for a healthier heart and a longer and healthier life.

If your cholesterol (when taken after a 12 hour fasting period) is too high (over 5 mmol/l) this is something which should be modified by diet changes, and if after trying this for a sustained period without meaningful improvement, treatment with a medication may be initiated (often a Statin, but there are others available).

Working together, we can improve your heart health and your chances of a long and healthy life. There are various risk assessment tools  (which use your own personal measurements and statistics), which a GP, Nurse or health professional may use to help to predict your chances of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. This is useful as it also compares you to “ the average person of your age, sex and ethnicity”. It is also useful as it can show easily how by modifying one or more of the risk factors, you may be able to reduce your risk significantly.

Please consider having a heart check-up, especially if you are over 40, are overweight or have a family history of heart disease.  Please also see a GP, GP nurse or other health professional for advice on weight reduction, diet, stopping smoking advice and healthy exercise advice, and make this year the year that you make a significant difference to your life and a provide a better outlook to your long-term future. 

For more information on the Cardiology services available within the 3fivetwo Group including consultations, screenings and investigations, please click here.

 


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