Keeping your heart healthy
Dementia and Alzheimers have replaced heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, but the latter still accounted for 11.5% of all deaths in 2015. In fact, every three minutes someone in the UK has a heart attack and 30% of those are fatal.
The good news is there’s a lot you can do to keep your heart healthy.
Watch your weight
Research shows keeping to a healthy weight cuts your risk of heart disease. The British Heart foundation offers support on eating well and being physically active which can help you manage your weight and keep your heart healthy. Find out more at www.bhf.org.uk
Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who’ve have never smoked. It’s a difficult habit to break, but stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart’s health. If you smoke:
• ask your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist for advice on how to stop.
• make a date to give up and stick to it.
• tell your family and friends that you’re quitting and ask for their support.
• keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes.
Don’t drink too much
Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can also have a harmful effect on your heart and general health. If you drink alcohol it is important to keep within the guidelines and drink no more than 14 units each week.
Manage cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure
If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, have diabetes or high blood pressure, this can increase your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. Eating healthily and exercising regularly can help lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of developing type two diabetes and reduce blood pressure.
Get financial protection
Life and Protection Insurance offers a financial safety net for you and your loved ones, should heart disease strike. In fact, Scottish Widows recently revealed that heart-related disorders were the second only to cancer as the most common reason for a policyholder to claim on their life cover and critical illness plan. They can provide a regular income or cash payout to ease the financial burden caused by serious illness or untimely death:
• Life Insurance can provide financial security to those who depend on your income when you die. It could pay off your mortgage, or provide an income to help cover things like regular household bills
• Critical Illness Insurance pays out a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions, like cancer, heart attack or stroke.
• Income Protection Insurance pays out a regular, tax-free income if you become unable to work because of illness, injury, and in some cases, unemployment. It could help you keep up with your mortgage or rent payments, as well as other living costs, until you’re able to return to work.
You may already have one or more of the above in place, but it’s still worth reviewing your current cover levels. Personal circumstances can change regularly so it’s important to ensure your level of cover remains appropriate.