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Our beating hearts

Taking care of our hearts is essential to our well-being, and I don't just mean that to be taken literally. Our emotions do effect our heart in a real and tangible way. How we feel echo's in the beat of our heart.

Covid has be shown to effect our hearts too, with increased morbidity. Now is a good time to pay attention to its well-being. I am not going to go into great details regarding the anatomy of the heart as this is readily available online and easily understood. In summary, the heart is a pump. If the pump fails, the blood and therefor oxygen will not get to the organs and the body and it will die, so it is an essential pump.

Taking care of your heart means taking care or your whole circulatory system because the pump is affected by - and affects the whole system. Like all things in medicine, this is a complicated and large topic. Here I will highlight some of the most important issues, those that we can control and effect. So what are some of the problems affecting our circulatory system?

  • Problems with your heart’s pumping action.

  • Changes to your heart’s structure.

  • Inefficient blood flow.

  • Blocked or narrowed blood vessels.

  • Weakened blood vessels.

All this health concerns add risk to heart attacks, stroke, clots, loss of limbs, cognitive impairment to name a few. One of the great difficulties with most diseases is that they are silent killers, they come on slowly and often get ignored or overlooked. Many times we only find out when the damage is already done.

So what can you do keep it healthy?

  • Knowledge is power, you cannot fix what you don't know so have you screening checks at least annually. If something is flagged, look further and take measures to improve.

  • Regular exercise is a proven tool to combat cardiac diseases, at least 30min a day 5 days a week of moderate exercise

  • Manage your sugar levels, especially if you are diabetic. This affects the whole system, more and more as you age and can have devastating health consequences.

  • Manage your blood pressure, this tells you how hard you heart pump is working as it can get tired too!

  • Cholesterol effects your blood vessels, hardening and making them narrower.

  • Follow the advice of you healthcare practitioner, she/he knows you and your stats, don't put off until tomorrow what should be done today.

  • If you can, use a heart rate monitor when training and stay in you training zone based on your age. If you do not have access to this, use the speech test, if you can hold a conversation while exercising you are in the safe zone.

  • Avoid too much alcohol, if at all

  • Avoid tobacco and inhaling chemicals/smoking for recreation

  • If you are overweight, seek advice on how you can loose weight in a healthy, responsible way

  • Eat a healthy diet

  • Manage your stress levels

Our bodies are incredible. We only get one so we need to take care of it!

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