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How to keep your heart happy and healthy

How to keep your heart happy and healthy

Heart Awareness Month has long been a platform for raising awareness about heart disease and highlighting the importance of a healthy lifestyle and appropriate treatment.

Your well-being is a priority at Mopani Pharmacy, and we aim to help strengthen public awareness and our customers’ hearts.

We live rushed lives and our well-being takes a back seat to our daily routine. We don’t have time to prepare healthy meals and we ignore risk symptoms, even those associated with heart disease. Many pharmacists can testify to seeing an alarming number of patients daily with either an expired prescription, uncollected repeats of cardiovascular medication and simply patients who try to reduce medical expenses.

There are many articles and campaigns on being healthy, but we would like to not only promote heart health this month, but to encourage and assist our community in knowing their health status and living a quality life without everyday hassles.

We need to create awareness not only of heart disease, but the related health risks and how to possibly prevent it. Having an imbalanced lifestyle, being stressed, not getting enough nutrients and even not taking medication correctly are all factors contributing to a decrease in health.

Here are 3 major influences:

Family history

Diabetes, high or low blood pressure and past cardiovascular disease all have a risk since some of these could be inherited.

Current health

If we have underlying conditions already, we need to focus on how to keep it under control at all times. When you have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or cardiomyopathy; you could experience various symptoms such as: possible nausea, irregular sweating, chest pains, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Lifestyle

Lastly, we need to look at our lifestyle. Identifying all possible factors that could lead to a decrease in heart health is imperative. Heart diseases are commonly caused by poor lifestyle choices and typically not knowing whether you are at risk.

Ways to ensure that you take good care of your heart

Avoid smoking and second-hand smoking
Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that can damage your heart and lungs. Smoking around children could have a long-term effect on their health as well.

Exercise regularly
Most people simply do not have the time to go to the gym anymore. We all live in the fast lane and we compromise wherever possible. Making small changes in the ways we do things could assist in ensuring we get the most out of our days such as taking the stairs; taking your pets for a walk and even quickly sweeping a room.

Shot of a woman doing exercise at home with her dog

Avoid eating fatty foods as much as possible
There is no need to buy all your meals ready-made. Adjust your portions, reduce your salt levels, including all of the food groups and avoiding take-away meals is already a good start! Make sure to snack between smaller meals and avoid overeating. Eat before 19:00 and avoid fizzy drinks. Drinking more water is the best choice you can make.

Have a screening test at least once a year to know your health status

Most medical aids allow for one test per member per year. Make the most of your money’s worth and get tested every year for cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.

Take your medication correctly
Most patients on cardiovascular medication do not adhere to the stipulated doses and do not collect their medication on the correct days. Check in with your health care practitioner every six months to ensure your current medication is still working.

Limit alcohol intake

A healthy mind is very important
Depression and anxiety also have negative effects on our health. Stress causes release of stress hormones and prolonged exposure to these elevated levels puts a strain on the heart. Having a good support system is important when it comes to everyday life. Engage in relaxing activities at least twice a month.

Beautiful happy young Vietnamese looking at camera

Diabetes increases the risk for a stroke or heart attack by two to four times
Take special care if you are diabetic. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in diabetic patients.

Invest in regular blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass index (BMI) screenings.

The Wellness Clinics at Mopani Pharmacy offer these services in-store, which are available at Crossing Centre 013 755 5500, I’langa Mall 013 742 2225 and White River 013 751 2267. Steiltes has a nurse available between 09:00 and 13:00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. No appointments necessary, simply walk-in.

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