Unlike the movies, heart attacks and heart disease are not the sole domain of stressed out, overweight middle aged men. In fact the Heart Foundation tells us that the disease is the single biggest killer of women and that women are three times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.
Leaving the gender issue aside, Dr Davang Parikh from Nepean Hospital reminds us that there are a few key lifestyle factors that you can be aware of to reduce your chance of meeting him. His top 5 tips include:
- Exercise – 30 minutes 3-4 times each week.
- QUIT smoking – there is no safe level of cigarette smoking, and the good news is that a ‘quitter’ will reduce their chance of heart attack by 50% just one year after stopping.
- Eat a healthy and well balanced diet – reduce your salt and sugar intake, and moderate the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Stress less and get plenty of sleep – like the rest of your body, your heart needs a chance to recuperate, and lowering your stress levels will also help to keep your blood pressure in check.
- Be smart and vigilant – See your GP for a regular heart health check, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Be sure to seek medical assistance at the first sign of chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations.