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May 2021 Newsletter
The total number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide has just exceeded 3.5 millions. It is a global disaster which has changed our life and will certainly have tremendous consequences for the years to come. One consequence is that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the overburdened public health systems in many countries. Surgeries have been highly reduced. According to the WHO health services have been disrupted in numerous countries with partial or total disturbances for treatment for hypertension and diabetes-related complications and for treatment for cancer treatment and cardiovascular emergencies.
Without diminishing the obvious seriousness of this pandemic, it is important to remember that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) still remain by far the main killer in the world causing around 20 million people deaths every year (compared to roughly 10 millions for cancer). CVD is the name for the group of disorders of heart and blood vessels. They include high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes or peripheral vascular disease. Although we cannot change some of the risk factors, such as family history or age, it is estimated that around 80% of cardiovascular diseases are preventable. In this month’s Newsletter we will provide advice that you can follow to avoid cardio-vascular diseases. Indeed, many of the risk factors can be eliminated if we show more global awareness on the importance of integrating simple healthy behaviours in our daily life.
Check and modify your diet
It is recommended to reduce saturated fat found mainly in animal products like milk, cheese (avoid above all full-fat dairy products), red meat, fatty meat (like lard, sausages) as well as in tropical oils, including palm and coconut oil. Trans fat should be eliminated as much as possible because they can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries. The word “trans” or “hydrogenated” on the label indicate the presence of bad fats, which can be found in chips, fried fast food and baked goods. Consumption of sugar should also be reduced. Instead it is advised to eat fresh vegetables and fruits every day as well as to drink at least five glasses of water.
Privilege a healthy life
Regular daily activity has various positive effects for your heart. You do not have to train hard to achieve results; the key is to stay active, even with gardening, going up stairs or walking. Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. One of the benefits of exercise is maintaining a healthy weight. For instance you can find out what your body mass index is and use the result to set weight loss goals. The formula is BMI = kg/m2 where kg is a person’s weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in metres squared. A healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9.
Considerable research has also revealed that contact with nature can better reduce our stress which in turn has positive impacts on our health. As stress can damage your heart, access to green areas is definitely a health promoter. In terms of stress management, meditation has scientifically proven to be effective too. Integrating the practice into a daily routine has been linked to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big impact.
Finally make sure you get enough sleep since a lack of sleep raise risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, three markers increasing risks for heart disease.
Do not smoke and limit alcohol
It is widely known that alcohol and smoking have damaging consequences on our health. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Cigarette smoking or exposure to smoke raise blood pressure too since chemicals in tobacco damage your heart and blood vessels.
Check regularly your medical conditions
High blood pressure has normally no symptoms. Consequently, it is recommended to check your blood pressure (or arterial pressure) once to twice every year. If it proves to be too high additional changes in your daily life or even medicine may be prescribed by a specialist. Cholesterol levels shall also be controlled at least every five years. A complete cholesterol test includes the calculation of different types of fats in your blood.
As you can see, we are suggesting mostly common-sense healthy habits. They do not take much time and energy and contribute to your well-being as well. As we often state living well and having a good health is a choice that we all can make.
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