Page 29 | questions by heart

Dr Javaid answers the most common questions patients ask about lowering blood pressure and heart health Is red wine good for my heart? Red wine contains antioxidants which, in theory, can offer a range of health benefits such as increasing levels of ‘good‘ cholesterol. However, the evidence is by no means clear cut on this and certainly not strong enough to advise nondrinkers to start drinking. An occasional small glass of red wine though shouldn’t do you any harm.

Avoid foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt as they all can contribute to increasing your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars, which can lead to heart disease. Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol. Excessive consumption can directly damage your heart and also increase blood pressure. At what age do I need to worry about my heart? You should focus on staying healthy regardless of your age. Maintaining good habits of regular exercise and a healthy diet and avoiding bad habits such as smoking is important. If you have a strong family history of early cardiovascular disease, it is sensible to periodically visit your GP to check for risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

I think I’m physically active, but am I just busy? Often people come to me thinking they are physically active, but really, they’re just busy. There’s a big difference What can I do to improve my between the two; being heart health? physically active means The most important thing is exercising almost every day for to maintain a healthy lifestyle, periods of at least half-an-hour. and be physically active. I If you’re busy, you’re probably recommend doing some form moving around a lot, but it’s of exercise for at least 30 minutes unlikely you’re getting your heart What foods are good for a at a time, ideally five times a rate up enough to count as healthy heart? week. If you can’t work out this exercise. There aren’t any miracle foods or often, be assured any physical diets that prevent or cure heart activity is better than none. disease; however a healthy diet If you smoke, quit as this and lifestyle can help reduce increases your risk of a heart your risk of high blood pressure. attack or stroke and is also linked Look at your food portions; to a number of cancers. Dr Javaid qualified from gaining weight can lead to a Cambridge University and heightened risk of diabetes and completed his GP VTS training heart problems. in Northampton. He has an Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables interest in cardiology and and whole grains; these food echocardiography and groups can help reduce your was a clinical lead in the blood pressure and cholesterol. Northamptonshire Community They can also help make you Cardiology service, which had feel fuller for longer. a focus on patients with heart Protein is essential in any healthy failure and valve disease. He was diet but try to avoid meats that recently named Pulse “GP of the are high in fat. Lean protein such Year” for his work in reducing as chicken and fish are great stroke emergency admissions options, however if you’re vegan in the East Midlands. He is also try eating quinoa, soya and a council member of the British pulses. Heart Valve Society and on the editorial board for the British

advocate summer 2017 | | 29

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Advocate magazine summer 2017  

Advocate magazine summer 2017  

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