This week, Ailish Houlihan, Croí nurse lead, Mayo Action on Heart Disease and Stroke programme encourages you to know your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
The risk of heart disease and stroke increases as we get older so all adults over 40 years should have a heart health check-up with their GP. Some simple routine tests can tell you and your doctor a lot about your heart health and your GP can give you the necessary advice to modify these risk factors and improve your overall health. Three of these tests include measuring your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.
There are many ways in which you can reduce your blood pressure: quit smoking, limit salty foods, and avoid adding salt to your food, increase physical activity, reduce weight, and take time to relax .
In a similar way to high blood pressure, the only way to know whether you have high cholesterol is to have it measured and your GP can do this for you by taking a blood sample. There are many ways to improve your cholesterol levels: reduce saturated fat in your diet, increase your fibre intake, increase physical activity, and reduce your weight.
Managing your weight not only reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes but it also improves your overall health and reduces your risk of many chronic conditions. Your doctor/nurse can measure your body mass index which is the number that relates your body weight to your height.
To find out more about the risk factors for heart disease and stroke speak to your GP or practice nurse, or contact the Mayo Action on Heart Disease and Stroke programme on 094 904 9172 or visit www.croi.ie