World Heart Day takes place on 29th September and aims to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 18.6 million lives each year. At Careium, our clients come to us for support to help them retain independence and peace of mind while living with health conditions such as dementia, epilepsy and heart disease. In this blog, we discuss ways of living a healthy life this World Heart Day and beyond:
Make healthy swaps
We’re repeatedly told to eat more fruit and vegetables and to get more exercise, but sometimes this can feel challenging. Start by making small swaps this World Heart Day – where possible, walk short journeys instead of taking the bus, and swap some of your diet staples for healthier alternatives. Little changes can make a difference, and can also help you build up to making bigger lifestyle adjustments where necessary.
Don’t forget to attend appointments
If you have limited mobility or live remotely, getting out can be a big step. It’s important not to miss health appointments. Not only could you be putting yourself at risk of not detecting health conditions, it was also reported at the beginning of the year that missed NHS appointments cost the service a huge one billion last year. The NHS does free health checks for those aged between 40 and 74 every five years. Other screenings you may be eligible or invited for (depending on your age and health) include bowel cancer screening, breast screening and the flu jab. Support for carers can make leaving home to attend appointments easier.
Try to get an adequate amount of sleep
Getting to sleep can prove easier said than done, especially if you have a health condition or ailment that causes discomfort. There are plenty of things you can try to ensure you get an adequate and peaceful night’s sleep – some of which you can read more about here. Getting around 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night can help you to feel more energised and alert, meaning you may be able to complete activities more easily during the day.
This isn’t a simple one by any means, but if you feel anxious about your ability to undertake daily tasks or to leave your house while you’re unattended, thinking about ways to make you feel more secure can help to alleviate feelings of stress or anxiety. Perhaps you can take a walk with a friend or neighbour or if you need long term support, personal alarms such as a GPS tracker can help you feel comforted in the knowledge that help is not far from hand.
Cut down on unhealthy habits
Cutting down on unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol this World Heart Day and beyond seems obvious, but you may not be aware of how much you are smoking or drinking. Keeping a diary logging the amount of times a day you reach for a cigarette or an alcoholic drink and how large the drink is can help you to cut down. Limiting alcohol or cigarette consumption to weekends or after dinner only can be a useful place to start, while gradually lessening the amount of times you consume it can be an ongoing process. Services such as the NHS Stop Smoking can help you if you’re committed to eliminating the habit entirely. Cutting down on such habits not only helps your long term health, but you should also see benefits shorter term too.