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The silent killer, Heart disease!

Recent articles in the news around the world highlights how serious heart disease is but do we ever actually stop and think how is the health of my heart? Have I done anything to ensure my heart is as healthy as possible? Our hearts are a pretty important organ in our body and without them we don't function so looking after them is a big deal. So why then do we not often check until something has happened? 1 in 20 NZ adults are diagnosed with heart disease (165,000 people)

which means there are many more with undiagnosed or pre heart disease. Every 90mins someone in NZ dies from heart disease. These are some pretty sobering statistics, and something that can be changed. Heart disease doesn't have to kill you, you can do something about it but its important that we think about this before it gets too late. Heart disease occurs when the arteries carrying blood to your heart become hardened and narrow, think of a hose that gets left in the sun and gets all hard more likely to crack, or a blockage in your vacuum that stops things getting sucked up. Your heart needs that supply of blood so that it can function for the rest of your body. With a slow hardening and thickening of your arteries you can have what's called Angina, chest pains which are an indication that things are getting bad in there. Unfortunately we can also get a full blockage and this is what is called a heart attack, leading to irreversible damage to the heart muscles. Below is a list of the main risk factors for this building up of plaque or hardening of arteries:

  • Smoking

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Physical inactivity

  • Diabetes

  • Overweight

Now, when we look at this list we can see it is mainly lifestyle factors that are able to be changed! This is really good news, you have the ability to decrease your risk of heart disease by improving the things on the above list! You all know what I am going to say next, EXERCISE is the best thing you can do! Exercise plays a role in reducing every single risk factor on that list, its like taking a super medicine that makes your whole body healthier rather than taking multiple pills for each risk factor. It is important to note that if you feel like you might not have looked after your heart that well that there is still time to change and it is important that you start with an experience exercise physiologist who is trained to spot signs of heart disease and who design an exercise program that will both be safe and effective! Come and talk to one of our team if it is the time to take the NextStep for heart health!

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