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Love your Heart this Valentine’s Day

14 February 2017


Bedfordshire leading GP on Cardiovascular disease Dr Chris Marshall blogs on keeping your heart healthy this Valentine’s day.

So you have managed not to overdo it at Christmas and New Year, you cut down on the intake of alcohol in January and just as you think the road is clear and there’s nothing else to take you off course for a healthier year; along comes Valentine’s Day.

It is the day of Cupid, when love and romance is in the air. When friends and lovers exchange cards and flowers and candle lit dinners. Spoiling the one you love, or being spoilt by the one you love can easily make one forget and over indulge in high calorie, high in sugar treats.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom. According to the British Heart Foundation, Cardiovascular (heart and circulatory) disease causes more than a quarter (26%) of all deaths in the UK; that’s nearly 160,000 deaths each year – an average of 435 people each day or one death every three minutes.

A healthy diet is a well-balanced diet that promotes a healthy weight, good blood pressure, and low cholesterol levels. Changing your eating habits can be tough, but small changes can make a big difference. Eating smaller portions, whole grains and fruits and vegetable that are high in fibre and nutrients helps to support good health.

In the UK, 67% of men and 57% of women are overweight or obese according to study which uses a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25 to define ‘overweight' and a BMI of 30 or more to define 'obese'. Our growing waistbands and lack of physical activity are directly related to the development of heart disease.

Keeping active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress buster. If you smoke, try giving it up or reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. Regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends can have a noticeable impact on your waistline. Reduce the intake of alcohol.

The NHS recommends 30 minutes exercise 5 days per week. Anything that increases your heart rate is considered physical activity, such as going for a walk, climbing stairs, riding a bike, or playing a sport. Moderate physical activity 30 minutes per day has been found to reduce the risk of stroke by 20% and the risk of coronary heart disease in women by 30 - 40%.

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