Keeping your Heart Healthy
What is your heart age?
Your heart age is an easy way of seeing how your health and lifestyle may affect your heart. You can calculate your heart age by answering a few simple and quick questions on the app below.
Why is it important?
Working out your heart age helps you understand how likely you are to have a stroke or a heart attack. Ten percent of men over 50 have a heart age that is 10 years older than their actual age. This means they have a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. Coronary Heart Disease (the blocking or interruption of the blood supply to the heart) is the biggest cause of death in the UK and so it's important to look at ways to keep your heart healthy.
After you have answered a few questions, which only takes a minute or two, the app shows you areas of your lifestyle where you can make changes to improve your heart age.
What can you do?
Some risk factors are beyond your control, such as age, family history of heart disease and sex, however there are other aspects of your lifestyle that you can improve to lower your risk.
To reduce your heart age you can:
- Quit smoking
- Manage your weight
- Lower your cholesterol level
There are many online resources available to help you manage this. The British Heart Foundation have a range of downloads including a series on how you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
How we can help
Making a lifestyle change like this can be daunting, but you don't have to go it alone. You can either make an appointment with your GP to discuss your concerns or alternatively you can contact the Connect Well Hull service.
Healthy Blood pressure
What is blood pressure?
As blood circulates around your body it pushes against the walls of your arteries. This 'pushing' is what is measured to determine your blood pressure.
Your blood pressure is made up of two numbers.
The first number is your systolic rate. This is a measurment of the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels and arteries when your heart contracts. If your blood pressure is 120 over 80 (120/80mmHg) then 120 is your systolic rate.
The second number is a measurement of the pressure when your heart relaxes. This is your diastolic rate. In this example 80 would be your diastolic rate.
Why is it important?
Maintaining good blood pressure is important for your long term health. Whilst low blood pressure often isn't problematic, high blood pressure can lead to a wide range of health problems.
Having high blood pressure puts you at more risk from having a heart attack or stroke. Long term high blood pressure can cause damage to your blood vessels and arteries, as well as your kidneys.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure often has no symptoms so you may not know you have it unless you get checked by a medical professional (with the exception of very high blood pressure which does have symptoms).
If you are over 40, you can get a free NHS health check where they will measure your blood pressure as well as assess your risk of developing other common conditions. If you are concerned about your blood pressure and you haven't had your blood pressure checked recently, you can speak to your GP practice and make an appointment with a nurse.
Understanding your numbers
What numbers indicate that you have healthy blood pressure and when should you be concerned?
This chart is a rough guide to what your numbers mean. For your blood pressure to be classed as normal, your systolic (top) number needs to be between 90 and 120 and your diastolic (bottom) should be between 60 and 80. If either number is higher than this, then you have either high blood pressure or pre-high blood pressure.
What you can do to help yourself
There are many factors that can contribute to having high blood pressure including genetics and age. There are also lifestyle factors that affect your blood pressure such as:
- Reducing your salt intake
- Increasing your physical activity
- Stopping smoking
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Maintaining a healthy weight
The Connect Well Hull service can help you to achieve your goals, and put you in touch with other services that may be able to help. Whether you're looking to stop smoking, manage your alcohol intake, or just get a little more active,
You can make an appointment with Connect Well Hull via –
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone: 01482 217 670
Where can I find out more?
You can get support and information from lots of places. Many pharmacies offer free blood pressure checks and can advise you on lifestyle changes, or if necessary, make an appointment with your GP. GP's often have specialist nurses and may refer you to services such as dieticians or run smoking cessation clinics.
There is lots of information available online including this free booklet by British Heart Foundation about managing your blood pressure.
Blood Pressure UK have also produced a range of resources that are free to download about maintaining healthy blood pressure.