British Heart Foundation (BHF) Heart Month – How To Help Your Heart:
To mark Heart Month, this February, BHF are asking the nation to take some simple steps to improve their heart health. During March, BHF will be testing a new on-line ‘learn CPR in 15 Minutes’ training tool which CWU Reps and members can try, and in April the new training tool and a new BHF App will be launched nationally.
Why Help Your Heart?
Currently, there are around 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases and 1 in 2 of us will experience a heart or circulatory condition during our lifetime.
However, making small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your heart health, which in the long term could help reduce your risk of heart and circulatory related conditions such as diabetes, stroke, vascular dementia or heart disease.
Here are some of the ways which you can improve your heart health and support the BHF during Heart Month:
Keep Track Of Your Numbers
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, speak to your GP or a pharmacist. You can normally get it checked at your GP surgery or local pharmacy. Having high blood pressure means you’re at an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, so it’s really important that you know your numbers.
Around 28 per cent of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, which can be caused by unhealthy habits. Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not doing enough exercise are all examples of factors which can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure – see the BHF Website link below.
Whatever your age or ability, exercising can help to improve your general wellbeing. In fact, regular physical activity can help to reduce the risk of developing heart and circulatory disease by up to 35 per cent. Just taking 20 to 30 minutes from your day to exercise, whether that is going for a run or a walk, can help make such a difference to your heart.
This year, BHF are the Charity of the Year for the London Marathon. While not all of us are ready to run a marathon why not take inspiration from those running it and check out some of the BHF challenges to get started – see the BHF Website link below.
A healthy and balanced diet can help to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and can help you to maintain a healthy weight. It can also help to lower your cholesterol levels.
Even if you already have a heart condition, eating healthily can still be of benefit to your heart health. Try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses and wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta. You should also look to choose options that are lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar where you can.
If you need some tasty recipes to get you started, check out the BHF’s online magazine, ‘Heart Matters’, which has plenty of delicious options.
Take On The Dechox Challenge
Sign up to take on the BHF’s ‘Dechox Challenge’ this March. Challenge yourself, your family, or your friends to give up chocolate, cake and biscuits, or all three, for 31 days, to help raise money for BHF life-saving research. The money that you raise from the Dechox challenge will help to fund BHF’s life saving research into conditions such as heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia – see the BHF Website link below.
Become A BHF Lifesaver – Learn CPR In Just 15 Minutes
The survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK is less than one in 10, and every minute without CPR or defibrillation can reduce the chances of survival by up to 10 per cent. You can learn how to save a life by performing CPR in just 15 minutes – see the BHF Website Link below.
Train Others In CPR
If you’re experienced in CPR why not help to train others including friends, family and work colleagues. Training more people in life saving skills such as CPR, defibrillator awareness and the recovery position will help to create a nation of life savers, meaning that in an emergency, you’ll know what to do.
Register Defibrillators On ‘The Circuit’
If you have a defibrillator, register on ‘“The Circuit’, which is the national defibrillator network developed by the BHF which maps defibrillators so that ambulance services across the UK can direct bystanders to the nearest device at the crucial moment. Register defibrillators on ‘The Circuit’ today – it could end up saving a life – see the BHF Website link below.
Be Kind To Yourself
Stress alone won’t cause heart and circulatory diseases, but it can lead to unhealthy habits that may increase your risk. Making sure you get plenty of rest, eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise regularly and keep in touch with friends and family for support can really help improve your wellbeing.
It’s important to understand that it’s normal and okay to feel stressed at times and there is support out there if you need it. If you need additional information on understanding stress and how it affects the heart – see the BHF Website link below for help.
Help Others For The BHF
There are many ways that you can help those living with heart and circulatory diseases. By becoming a volunteer for the BHF – whether at one of their 710 nationwide shops – or by supporting at an event – you’ll be playing a crucial role in helping raise money for life saving research.
Volunteering can also help you stay physically active and do wonders for your sense of wellbeing. In fact, a BHF survey found, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) respondents stated that volunteering has improved their mental health. It’s also a great way to meet new people and become part of a team. Visit the BHF volunteering page – see the BHF Website link below.
BHF Website Links: –
BHF Homepage Link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/
BHF Get Moving/Challenges Link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/events
BHF Dechox Challenge: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise/dechox-2022
BHF Become a Lifesaver – Learn CPR in 15 Minutes Link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life
BHF ‘Stress’ Link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/risk-factors/stress
BHF Volunteering Link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/volunteer/register-your-interest/get-started
BHF Heart Matters Magazine Link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer