Aged Care

Heart Wellness

Written By Linh Van Lai B.Pharm

12 June 2021

man in running outfit clutching chest

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects a large proportion of men and women in Australia. The good news is CVD is largely preventable and treatable. Early detection is important to properly manage heart disease. Your local Pharmacist or GP can help provide you with advice on heart wellness. Here are a few key tips to help you be heart smart.

Key Tips for Heart Wellness

  • Check Your Heart Health
  • Stay Active
  • Stop Smoking
  • Enjoy Healthy Food
  • Medication Management
  • Lower Stress
  • Vitamins & Supplements

Check Your Heart Health

Your doctor can do a Heart Health Check. This usually involves checking your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and talking to you about your diet, physical activity, health habits and other risk factors. They can provide guidance on how you can make changes to your lifestyle to improve your heart wellness. In collaboration with your GP, your Pharmacist can measure your blood pressure and maintain an ongoing record. They can also provide advice on your current medications and general health.

Stay Active

Regular exercise is great for your heart. Reduce the amount of time you spend sitting by stretching or going for a walk. Break up your routine and try different activities to make exercising more enjoyable. Plus, there are other health benefits to getting active such as mental alertness and improving your mood. Consider activities that have low impact on joints such as water therapy and cycling. Learning to dance is a fun way to exercise as well as benefiting the memory through dancing to choreography and music.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is linked to an increase in heart disease and the deterioration of the lungs. Smokers are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. Smoking also affects those around you through second-hand smoke. If you’re looking to quit smoking, talk to your Pharmacist or GP. There are various strategies and treatments that are subsidised by the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. Your Pharmacist can assist with different options to reduce cravings for cigarettes, such as nicotine lozenges, chewing gum and inhalers.

Enjoy Health Food

A balanced diet filled with healthy food is beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing blood pressure and blood cholesterol. You can reduce your salt intake by replacing salt with herbs and spices to flavour your food. Olive/coconut oil or avocadoes are healthy, tasty alternatives to saturated and trans fats. Limiting your alcohol consumption can also help your heart health.

Lower Stress

Stress is a significant factor in raising blood pressure, leading to changes in body chemicals such as adrenaline, dopamine and cortisol. Changes in the balance of these chemicals may also contribute to anxiety as well as a faster heart rate and stress on the heart.

Supplements such as Zinc can also help to manage anxiety and depression. Your Pharmacist can help with provide advice.

If you are having trouble managing stress, your GP can help develop a mental well-being plan.

Vitamins & Supplements

Supplementing an average diet with vitamins may assist in optimising heart health and vitality. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E have been proven through extensive studies in the community to reduce heart incidents and mortality in both “at risk” and healthy individuals (Lancet 347:781-6, 1996-2002).

Another beneficial supplement for the heart is Coenzyme Q10 which is essential for muscle health, assisting the heart to efficiently pump more nutrients to the rest of the body.

How Your Pharmacist Can Help

Your friendly Pharmacist can organise a plan to optimise your health health, which incorporates a check of your medicines and lifestyle measures. A review of your prescription medication ensures that there are no significant adverse effects and where necessary, they can provide suggestions for any appropriate complementary medicines to improve your heart health.

Our Pharmacists also offer free blood pressure checks to help monitor your heart health.

These tips are just a few ways to help you on your journey to heart wellness. Remember, your local Pharmacist can also provide you with valuable advice. A healthy heart is a happy heart.

To seek further information to elaborate on this general advice, refer to your Pharmacist or GP.

References
https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/

www.healthdirect.gov.au/heart-and-cardiovascular-conditions
https://strokefoundation.org.au/en/About-Stroke/Prevent-Stroke

Linh Van Lai B.Pharm

Written by Linh Van Lai B.Pharm

With 24 years of experience as a Pharmacist in Australia, Linh Van Lai enjoys connecting with people to optimise their individual needs and health outcomes. Teaching, speaking in community seminars and writing in newspapers has added to Linh's focus on current health issues that are at the forefront of people's mind. Linh believes managing our health involves all facets of lifestyle, including diet, healthy measures, complementary medicines as well as appropriate prescription medications.

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