Valentine’s Day – The Heart of the Matter

Valentine’s Day has many of us thinking of matters of the heart, but it might be a good time to consider your heart health and assess how healthy your heart actually is.

While heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death of men and women in Ireland, and worldwide, warning signs are not always obvious.

Prioritise your heart, and the hearts of your loved ones, this Valentine’s Day, by being proactive about your heart health and supporting your loved ones to do the same.

 

Do you know your numbers? If you don’t know any of the readings below, we encourage you to make an appointment with your GP to get informed and take control of your heart health.

Blood Pressure: The ideal is 140/90 mmHg or below. Higher levels increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Total Cholesterol: Levels of five or above increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Weight: Carrying excess weight can increase your risk of heart disease. Did you know that if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is above 25, losing 5-10% of your starting weight can reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol?

Waist Size: Carrying most of our weight around our middle can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. For men, aim for a waist circumference of less than 94cm, and for women, aim for less than 80cm. Note – measure about an inch above your belly button.

 

80% of Heart Disease and Stroke Can Be Prevented

A risk factor is anything that raises a person’s chance of developing heart disease and stroke. There are two types of risk factors, those you cannot change, e.g. age and family history, and thankfully those you can change, e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol and physical activity. All of the risk factors above are in our control and 80% of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by being proactive and making the necessary lifestyle changes.

 

Listen To Your Heart

If you would like more information about risk factors or support on taking care of your heart health, Croí’s FREE telephone helpline, Heartlink West, is live weekdays from 9 am – 5:30 pm on 091 544310. When you call, you will be connected with one of our Cardiac Nurse Specialists. Alternatively, you can email the Croí Health Team at healthteam@croi.ie or join our weekly Heartlink West Virtual Chats.