Very often we don’t know that our heart is not functioning well until there is a problem. High blood pressure can be undetected, and there may be no obvious signs that you are susceptible for a stroke.
The British Heart Foundation are supporting a scheme to make it easier to get blood pressure checked in pharmacies in the high street, rather than having to go to a GP in the first instance.
“We estimate that there are up to 4.8 million people in the UK living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and most people don’t know they have it until they get it measured by a healthcare professional. It often doesn’t present any symptoms, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a silent killer, so it’s important that you get your blood pressure checked – especially if you have a family history of heart and circulatory disease".
John Maingay, Director of Policy and Influencing, British Heart Foundation
Lifestyle choices make a big difference
Small changes you make in your life can have a great impact. Eating dark leafy greens is an excellent first step and February is the perfect month for cabbage broccoli and spinach.
Avocados, berries, fish oils nuts seeds and garlic are all good for the heart, and you can wash them down with a drink of green tea! Dark chocolate is good, too which may be welcome news.. but it is only dark chocolate not milk.
Of course being over weight puts a strain on your heart as it has to pump harder. We all tend to sit at desks for far too long, so even getting up every hour will help. Also a brisk walk on a cold bright winter morning boosts your mood and makes it a real pleasure. Some exercise is better than none – you don’t have to go on marathons or cold water swimming to feel the benefit.
Valentine’s Day is all about hearts
February 14th is Valentine’s Day which is a day devoted to hearts and love. This is the other aspect which keeps your heart pumping well. Loving and being loved has a positive impact on your health as the mind and body are connected!
It doesn’t have to be all about an adult partner – the love of children, of watching green shoots grow in the garden or park, the love of cooking, photography or simply some peaceful moments all help to boost our mood.
When we feel good and have pleasure in our lives we reduce stress, breathe better, sleep better and help our body to function well.
So this Valentine’s Day think about all the things that you love in your life. They are doing you a world of good even if they are not red roses or heart covered cards!