With World Heart Day coming up, Bupa shares everything you need to know about your heart
Up to 3.5 million women are living with cardiovascular disease in the UK, so it’s important to know how to care for your ticker. Luckily, Dr Luke James, Medical Director at Bupa Health Clinics, is on hand to dispel the myths and educate on the confusions surrounding heart health.
Myth 1: “I’m a woman... it only affects men, right?”
Heart disease kills the same amount of women as it does men, but women are more likely to develop problems later in life. People often perceive cardiovascular disease as something that mainly affects men because high levels of oestrogen in the female body protect them from many heart problems until menopause. Just like men, smoking, weight gain, high cholesterol and low activity levels throughout life all contribute to endangering heart health. We would recommend everyone assesses their risk, but men and women around the age of 45 really do benefit from undertaking a review of their risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Getting a coronary calcium CT which can identify potential issues and allow patients to manage their risks in a much more personalised way, could also be worthwhile.
Myth 2: “I’m ok as none of my family have ever had heart problems.”
We often see patients dismissing the risk of heart disease because there is no family history. While there is no denying the role of hereditary factors, lifestyle also plays an enormous role in developing a cardiovascular condition. There are great opportunities available for people to really understand their own risk, and manage their lifestyles accordingly. A coronary assessment is an obvious option, but even a general health assessment which looks at lifestyle influences is a good place to start. Regularly checking cholesterol levels and blood pressure are also great ways to keep on top of your heart health, whether you have a family history or not.
Myth 3: “I’ll worry about it later, it’s a problem for elderly people.”
Over a quarter of people who die from cardiovascular disease everyday are under the age of 75. With heart disease being the UK’s single biggest killer, heart health is not something we should be putting off until we’re older.
Head to www.bupa.co.uk/health/health-assessments for more information and to assess your heart health.