Making more heart-conscious health choices can help support a healthy heart and may reduce heart conditions.
- Breathlessness at rest or during light activities, sometimes with coughing or wheezing
- Swelling or fluid retention of the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen
- Calf pain on walking (intermittent claudication)
- Muscles may become easily fatigued
- Palpitations or the sense of an irregular heartbeat
- Tightness, heaviness or squeezing pain or discomfort in the chest may be symptomatic of to a serious heart condition and urgent medical attention is vital.
Unchangeable risk factors include:
- Your family history
- Your age
- Being male (although women are also at risk, particularly after Menopause)
Risk factors that can be addressed or modified include:
- Being overweight
- Your blood pressure
- Your Cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Your blood sugar level (especially if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic)
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Consuming excessive amounts of saturated fat, Cholesterol, salt, sugar or high glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates (e.g. refined wheat flour products such as white bread)
- Consuming inadequate quantities of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats (e.g. from fish, nuts, seeds and avocados), or inadequate quantities of key nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, omega-3s and co-enzyme Q10
- Cholesterol molecules and the blood vessels are very susceptible to Free Radical Damage, which increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. Besides smoking, other factors that increase free radical activity can also elevate heart disease risk. These may include poorly controlled Blood sugar imbalances, inflammatory health conditions, weight problems, and exposure to environmental pollutants. Low dietary levels of antioxidants may exacerbate the situation
Nutritional & Herbal Support
- Check with your healthcare professional before taking any nutritional or herbal supplements if you are undergoing treatment for health conditions as they may interfere with the efficacy or required dosage of your prescribed medication
- Grape Seed is an antioxidant that provide extra support to the blood vessels and is traditionally regarded as a circulatory stimulant. It assists in relieving symptoms of poor circulation and helps stabalise capillary walls.
- Magnesium plays a number of roles in the cardiovascular system, including helping to maintain the ability of the blood vessels to contract and dilate (open) supporting a healthy heart muscle function.
Diet & Lifestyle advice
- Check with your healthcare professional before taking any nutritional or herbal supplements if you have any health conditions as they may interfere with the efficacy or required dosage of your prescribed medication
- Adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, rich in olive oil, vegetables, legumes, seafood and fruit, and including small to moderate quantities of red wine is an enjoyable way to support your heart health
- Eat plenty of nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables to ensure that you are consuming a wide variety of antioxidants and adequate potassium and folic acid. Green leafy vegetables, celery, garlic and onion are beneficial inclusions in your diet
- Decrease or limit your consumption of offal, and fats from meat and dairy products, which contain Cholesterol and saturated fat. Instead choose lean cuts of meat, skim milk, and reduced-fat cheeses and yoghurts
- Choose unrefined polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, from fish, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. In particular, try to eat several serves of oily fish (such as salmon, tuna or sardines) every week to maintain high levels of omega-3 fats
- Avoid the consumption of trans fats whenever possible by eliminating takeaway and pre-packaged foods from your diet, and favouring healthy fresh foods. This will also reduce your salt (sodium) intake, helping to lower your blood pressure
- Fibre has the capacity to bind to Cholesterol, allowing it to be excreted from the body. For this purpose, soluble fibre is the most effective form of fibre; good sources include psyllium, oats, barley and fibre from legumes and pulses
- Restrict your alcohol consumption to a maximum of 1-2 serves per day, preferably of red wine, which is rich in antioxidants. Don't binge drink
- After seeking your doctor's approval, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most or all days of the week. A brisk walk is a great start, and will help manage your blood pressure, Cholesterol, body weight and blood sugar levels, and consequently support overall cardiovascular health
- Limit smoking as it promotes Free Radical Damage, harms the blood vessels, and increases your risk of developing cardiovascular health conditions.
If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.