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Heart health wake-up call

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‘Heart health wake-up call’ hits us at 48: Average Briton starts considering their heart as they approach the big 5-0, but it often takes a major health scare

Apparently the average Briton is struck by a heart health wake-up call at the age of 48, according to new research we recently commissioned (involving 2,000 adults aged 45 and over). Alarmingly, though, nearly half of them admitted that heart health is not a consideration, without the experience of a major health scare or extreme conditions such as getting breathless when walking (46% or over 13 million people), feeling their heart racing (39%) or experiencing dizzy spells (32%). Surprisingly, women were reported as being in as much denial as men.

With Cardiovascular Disease still the number one killer worldwide, it’s shocking to me that people don’t consider their heart health until half way through their lives – with 1 in 10 actually admitting that they won’t think about their heart until they are over 60. Especially since the heart is the body’s hardest working organ – pumping blood that delivers critical nutrients and oxygen to every cell.

What’s most concerning though, is that half of Brits will need to experience extreme symptoms or a major heart health scare to take better care of it, with these top triggers cited for prompting consideration of their heart:
1. Getting breathless when climbing stairs or walking 46%
2. Feeling heart racing 39%
3. Someone in my family having heart health issues 37%
4. Having a major health scare 36%
5. Experiencing dizzy spells 32%
6. Having minor health scare 31%
7. Friend the same age suffering heart health issue 30%
8. Starting to feel old 28%
9. Reaching a milestone birthday 14%
10. Nothing. If my heart is still pumping then there’s nothing to worry about 2%
And, even then, according to the research, 15% don’t intend to make any lifestyle changes.

I think much of this is down to a lack of understanding about heart health. Whilst the research did reassuringly reveal that half of Brits are now well aware of the importance of managing blood pressure (58%) and cholesterol (47%), many still don’t understand the importance of blood flow in heart health. Only 1 in 10 (11%) cited improving blood flow when thinking about their heart health. Yet blood flow is just as important for cardiovascular health, some would argue even more so, as blood delivers critical nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

Sadly what many still don’t know is that blood flow deteriorates with age – from as young as 40 – as it gets stickier and more prone to clotting. Surprisingly, our blood flow can also change hourly based on lifestyle triggers – stress, diet, lack of or over exercise, alcohol, smoking. And it can be even more problematic for women, due to hormones (during pregnancy, menstruation, pre- and post-menopause).

However, taking care of blood flow when you’re younger, ideally from 40 years old, can ensure it will continue to flow smoothly into old age. So it seems the rest of us could learn a thing or two from the Irish when it comes to considering heart health as, according to the research, they start considering their heart from the age of forty.
Getting your blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol levels measured will give you a basic idea of what’s going on internally. On top of that, healthy diet and exercise remain key. And whilst a pill won’t compensate for a dodgy diet, it might be an extra investment in the healthy blood bank to consider. So remember to take your daily dose of Fruitflow®+ Omega-3!

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