Karen Chester of Brookside Aesthetics in Chelmsford on why a man’s heart is his most important tool
Why do men treat their bodies as tools to do a job? Health is not always essential or something they pay much attention to until poor health gets in the way of their ability to go to work, have sex or do something else important to them.
Last year had a huge impact on all of us; it’s taught me to value my life and my loved ones. Across the world, COVID-19 has taken too many lives, leaving thousands of families shattered by grief.
While the global impact of COVID-19 is devastating, coronary heart disease is responsible for around 63,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 170 people each day, or one death around every eight minutes. In the UK, one in eight men and one in 13 women die from coronary heart disease.
Why can’t men make their heart health a top priority? Today, our lives are more sedentary: we sit in the car or on public transport, many of us sit at a desk at work, we come home and sit down for dinner or to watch Netflix.
Would you like a healthy heart? Here’s a six-point guide on how to look after yourself:
The heart is the most important muscle we have. Exercise is key to keeping muscles strong; after regular physical activity, it becomes more robust and more efficient, which in turn helps by pumping fresh active blood around the body.
A fresh, clean, healthy diet
Poor diet is the second highest risk factor for developing heart disease. By focusing on proper nutrition, men can help ensure their heart remains healthy and strong. In most cases, this will include a diet that consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.
Extra body weight places stress on the body’s internal organs and structures, including the heart. The heart has to work much harder to compensate for the added pounds. You can use the NHS calculator tool to calculate your BMI, and this is key to determining the ideal weight range of an individual based on their weight to height ratio. For men, this number should be between 18.5 and 25.
High blood pressure is damaging to your blood vessels and is one of the key indicators that an individual may be at risk for heart disease. Blood pressure readings consist of two separate numbers. The top number (systolic) measures the amount of pressure in the arteries as the heart muscle contracts. The bottom number (diastolic) measures pressure in between heartbeats. Ideally, systolic pressure should be below 120 and diastolic below 80.
There are two types of cholesterol. Bad cholesterol (LDL) contributes to heart disease by helping plaque form within artery walls. Good cholesterol (HDL) helps keep this in check by locating LDL and carrying it out of the arteries and back to the liver. However, when there is an imbalance between these two types, LDL cholesterol can remain unchecked and develop fatty build-ups, which can create blockages in your arteries and can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. A healthy cholesterol will include levels of HDL that are above 40 and levels of LDL that are under 100.
When people are under stress, they tend to make less healthy lifestyle choices. This can mean overeating, making unhealthy diet choices, or becoming less physically active. Finding ways to manage stress effectively is key to maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.
Karen Chester is the founder of Brookside Aesthetics, who are based in Chelmsford. Find out more by calling 01245 363889 or visiting brookside-aesthethics.com