World Heart Day – Looking after your heart

World Heart Day is a global campaign during which individuals, and governments around the world participate in activities to take charge of their heart. Through this campaign people from all backgrounds and countries act to encourage heart healthy living across the globe.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death each year. Making it the world’s number one killer. At least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke can be avoided by controlling risk factors.

Risk factors for heart disease are some you can’t control, but there are many you can control. Knowing what they are can lower your risk for heart disease.

Risk factors we cannot control:

Age:  Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk.

Gender: Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women some protection against heart disease.

Ethnicity: Certain groups have higher risks than others.

Family history: You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.


Risk factors we can control:

Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control: High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Stay at a healthy weight: Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk for heart disease.

Eat a healthy diet: Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars.

Get regular exercise: Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation.

Don’t smoke: Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

Manage stress: Stress is linked to heart disease. It can raise your blood pressure.

Manage diabetes: Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease.

Make sure that you get enough sleep: If you don’t get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

While helping people prioritize their health agendas, it is important to understand the human component which influences heart healthy choices ultimately determining the course a person’s life will take.

Dr Zaib Shaikh

General Practitioner

If you have any questions or for further information speak to one of our doctors by using our Health at Hand app.