Understanding what your heart needs to be healthy, may help you reduce the risk of developing heart disease. We've put together a resource covering the important details about heart health.
The heart pumps blood into every part of our body. It carries oxygen and nutrients across our body through blood.
Heart disease is New Zealand’s biggest killer, with Pacific people being 1.2 times more likely to live with heart disease. Pacific women are more impacted and are 2.4 times more likely than non-Pacific women to experience heart failure.
Your health is important, and we’re here to support you in taking the necessary steps for prevention and detection of heart disease. To do this, we have identified the key areas of heart health:
Cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood. It’s made naturally by our liver or from the food we eat. Our body needs some to work properly, however when it is too high, it causes heart attacks or strokes. You can get your cholesterol checked by having a blood test organised by your doctor.
There are some things you can do to help control your cholesterol:
- Avoid foods high in saturated fats, for example red meat, butter, cream etc.
- Avoid foods high in refined sugars, for example baked goods, sweets and fizzy drinks.
- Keep alcohol consumption low.
- Be active every day, for example a 30-min walk.
- Avoid / quit smoking.
There are also some things you cannot control:
- Family history
- Other medical conditions, such as kidney or liver disease which impact your cholesterol.
2) High blood pressure
Blood pressure measures the strength of blood pushed against the artery walls. If your blood pressure it continuing to stay above recommended levels, this is known as high blood pressure (hypertension). This can lead to:
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Kidney or eye damage
You can have your blood pressure checked by your doctor or at most pharmacies. You can manage your blood pressure by avoiding the following:
- smoking or vaping
- eating too much processed food and salt
- drinking alcohol
- being overweight
- not being active enough
- lots of stress
3) Heart Attack
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing to the heart muscle. Fat deposits inside the arteries are one of the causes of heart attacks.
It is important to recognise the warning signs of a heart attack. This includes heaviness, pressure, discomfort or pain in your chest, shoulder, jaw, arm, neck, or mid-back. If you are concerned that you or someone around you might be having a heart attack, don’t wait, call 111.
At The Fono, we are here to provide you with knowledge and support to take care of your health and wellbeing. If you have any questions or concerns about your heart health, please do not hesitate to book in an appointment with one of our doctors to have a talanoa.
To learn more about heart health, follow the links below.