Heart health – reducing your risk of heart disease
Why should I be concerned about heart disease?
Heart disease is a huge problem in the UK - every two minutes someone suffers a heart attack, with millions of us at risk of developing this serious condition within the next ten years. Smoking, a poor diet, lack of exercise and raised cholesterol can all affect the health of your heart without you even realising it. But the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to look after your heart and cut the risk of a heart attack or heart disease.
A good start is to have a Lloydspharmacy Cholesterol and Heart Check, which helps to identify your risk of developing heart disease and stroke within the next ten years. It includes a confidential consultation and advice to help you on your way to a healthier heart.
Are some people more at risk from heart disease than others?
There are lots of lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of heart disease:
- Smoking is a major cause of heart attacks, almost doubling your risk of having a heart attack
- A diet high in fats and salt and low in fruit and vegetables increases the risk of heart disease
- If you don’t lead an active life your risks are much higher – yet only one in three men and one in four women in the UK actually get the exercise they need every week
- Raised cholesterol levels put you more at risk of heart disease, which applies to two out of every three adults in the UK
You're also at increased risk if:
- You have high blood pressure
- You have diabetes
- You're overweight
- You drink too much alcohol
- Any of your immediate family under 55 years, if they're male, and 65 years, if female, has heart disease
- You have raised cholesterol
- You're of South Asian or African-Caribbean origin
- You're over 40 years of age
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that helps your body to work properly. There are two main types:
- LDL (bad) cholesterol – too much LDL can fur up your arteries, making them narrower. This is a major risk factor for heart disease
- HDL (good) cholesterol – helps to keep your arteries clean by taking excess levels of bad cholesterol back to your liver where the body gets rid of it
Why should I use the Cholesterol and Heart Check service?
Understanding your risk of heart disease will spur you on to doing something about it, helping you to target those lifestyle issues you can change to reduce your chances of developing heart disease or stroke. If we identify that you’re at high risk, we’ll refer you to your GP who'll be able to advise you on the most effective treatment plan – this may result in simple lifestyle changes or in some cases you may be prescribed medicines.
Can I do anything to reduce my risk of developing heart disease?
Yes. That's the good news. There are lots of things you can do to improve your lifestyle and reduce your risk of developing this serious condition.
What happens if I have heart disease?