In New Zealand, every 90 minutes, one New Zealander dies of heart disease. That’s 16 deaths per day, many of which could have been preventable. Genetics does play a big part in the risk of developing heart disease, and although your DNA cannot be changed, there are many risk factors that can be:
- Smoking – You are 2-4 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke as a smoker.
- Poor Diet – A diet high in salt and/or saturated fat can increase both your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, increasing your risk for heart disease.
- Stress – too much stress can increasing blood pressure putting stress on the cardiovascular system.
- Physical inactivity – 30 minutes of physical activity each day is important for reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke, and also plays a huge part in managing weight, stress and building a strong immune system.
- Diabetes – increases the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- High blood pressure and/or High cholesterol – both increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke however can be managed by a diet low in salt, alcohol and saturated fat.
- Weight – losing just 5-10% of your weight can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and also help to protect against diabetes and cancer.
The heart foundation has a fantastic tool called KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. Within just a few minutes you can get a glimpse of how old your heart is compared to your actual age. Click on the like above or here to take the quiz, and find out how healthy your really heart is!
Heart disease claims more than 5000 New Zealanders per year. Don’t let yourself or your family be another statistic. Make sure you keep heart healthy by being physically active, eating a balanced diet low in salt, alcohol and saturated fat, and by being smoke free so that you can live a long and fulfilled life.
The Heart Week Street Appeal will be taking place on Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th of February 2013. By donating you help the Heart Foundation fund vital research, advance rehabilitation and provide heart health information for New Zealanders of all ages. Please give generously should you see the Heart Foundation Volunteers.
Alternatively you can donate by texting “Donate” to 933 to make a $3 donation, donate online here, or by calling 0800 830 100.