Having a healthy lifestyle is the best way to look after your heart. At Victoria Street Medical Group, we encourage patients to lead a healthy lifestyle by avoiding smoking, eating a nutritionally balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and remaining physically active. Our doctors evaluate your heart health by checking your blood pressure, order tests for cholesterol and diabetes and can stratify your individual cardiovascular risk. We can formulate a customised lifestyle plan and medical management plan aimed at improving your heart health. Some important advice includes;
Being smoke free is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart. Smoking increasing your risk of having a heart attack. Our doctors can assist you to quit smoking by providing expert advice, and prescribing medication or NRT to facilitate the process and increase your chances of success.
Reduce your blood cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to be healthy, but too much cholesterol in your blood can cause plaques to accumulate in the blood vessels of the heart compromising blood flow leading to a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol can be reduced by following a healthy dietary plan. Our doctors can refer eligible patients to a dietitian for expert advice. Tests can be ordered and medication prescribed to lower cholesterol if diet adherence alone fails to bring the cholesterol level down.
Manage your blood pressure
Blood pressure is NOT usually something you can feel. If it’s too high, it needs to be treated. Blood pressure is treated by reducing salt in your diet, reducing/managing weight in a health range, and exercising regularly. Our doctors will check your blood pressure in the surgery or order more comprehensive evaluation with a 24 hour record. If necessary, medication will be prescribed to lower your Blood Pressure to a safe level to prevent heart disease including heart attack.
It’s important to allow your doctor to assess your risk and test for diabetes mellitis. Diabetes can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Our doctors can order tests for diagnosis of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Also, we can assess and improve management of pre-existing diabetes by encouraging health lifestyle advice and prescription of medication to manage blood sugar levels to near normal where necessary. Appropriate management of diabetes will help prevent a heart attack. For further information on diabetes see Diabetes Australia website.
Increase Physical Activity
Regular, moderate physical activity is great for your heart health. It’s never too late to start and get the benefits. It’s also important to sit less during your day and break up your sitting time. If you have lead a sedentary lifestyle, start by walking regularly and increase your level of activity gradually. It is very important to start your exercise programme at a level appropriate to your current physical fitness then gradually work up to more intense levels of physical exertion. Discuss you exercise plan with our doctor. Find out what you can do about getting active and sitting less
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of heart disease and other health problems. It is helpful to know your body mass index and waist measurements and what these mean. Find out how Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and heart attack.
Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods
Eating a varied diet of healthy foods can help with your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Find out more about healthy eating
There are also specific changes you can make to your diet to help prevent heart disease:
- Eat less salt: Reducing your salt intake is good for your blood pressure. Read about salt in your diet and ways to reduce it
- Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats: Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can reduce your risk of heart disease. Easy ideas for making the switch
- Limit alcohol: Read about alcohol recommendations and tips for cutting down on our drinks page.
Look after your mental health
We know that there can be a greater risk of heart disease for people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have good social support. Having a good social life with family and friends can help.
Depression is more than feeling sad or low. If you feel depressed for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor, a family member or someone you know well.
For more information about depression, visit the beyondblue website