NATIONAL HEART MONTH 1st– 28th February – National Heart Month is an annual event to raise awareness and encourage people to look after their hearts. There are many ways to get involved with National Heart Month and one of the ways we want you to get involved in making your community heart safe! Register your interest this National Heart Month to make a donation towards our Defibs Saves Lives Campaign in 2022 and they will donate a defib to a community of your choice.
National Heart Month helps people understand how to keep healthy and stay informed about the risks of heart-related conditions. The heart is responsible for pumping blood around our body, transporting oxygen and cells to our other organs, so it’s important that we stay aware and make the right choices to keep our hearts happy and healthy. This month presents opportunities for people to get involved in fun activities to spread awareness and support causes that promote heart health. Why not wear red on National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease and encourage others to do the same?
Currently, there are around 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases and 1 in 2 of us will experience a heart or circulatory condition during our lifetime.
However, making small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your heart health, which in the long term could help reduce your risk of heart and circulatory related conditions such as diabetes, stroke, vascular dementia or heart disease.
Keep Track of Your Numbers...
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, speak to your GP or a pharmacist. You can normally get it checked at your GP surgery or local pharmacy. Having high blood pressure means you’re at an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, so it’s really important that you know your numbers.
Around 28 per cent of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, which can be caused by unhealthy habits. Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not doing enough exercise are all examples of factors that can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure.
For more information, click here to find out how to monitor your blood pressure.
Whatever your age or ability, exercising can help to improve your general wellbeing. In fact, regular physical activity can help to reduce the risk of developing heart and circulatory disease by up to 35 per cent. Just taking 20 to 30 minutes from your day to exercise, whether that is going for a run or a walk, can help make such a difference to your heart.
This year, we are the Charity of the Year for the 2022 TCS London Marathon. While not all of us are ready to run a marathon why not take inspiration from those running it and check out some of their other challenges to get you started.
A healthy and balanced diet can help to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and can help you to maintain a healthy weight. It can also help to lower your cholesterol levels.
Even if you already have a heart condition, eating healthily can still be of benefit to your heart health. Try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses and wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta. You should also look to choose options that are lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar where you can.
Take on a Dechox Challenge…
Sign up to take on their Dechox challenge this March. Challenge yourself, your family, or your friends to give up chocolate, cake and biscuits, or all three, for 31 days, to help raise money for life-saving research. The money that you raise from the Dechox challenge will help to fund life-saving research into conditions such as heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia.
Become a British Heart Foundation Lifesaver…
The survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK is less than one in 10, and every minute without CPR or defibrillation can reduce the chances of survival by up to 10 per cent. You can learn how to save a life by performing CPR in just 15 minutes.
If you’re experienced in CPR why not help to train others including friends, family and work colleagues. Training more people in life-saving skills such as CPR, defibrillator awareness and the recovery position will help to create a nation of lifesavers, meaning that in an emergency, you’ll know what to do.
If you have a defibrillator, register it with it on The Circuit, the national defibrillator network developed by the BHF which maps defibrillators so that ambulance services across the UK can direct bystanders to the nearest device at the crucial moment. Register your defibrillator on The Circuit today – it could end up saving a life.
Be Kind To Yourself…
Stress alone won’t cause heart and circulatory diseases, but it can lead to unhealthy habits that may increase your risk. Making sure you get plenty of rest, eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise regularly and keep in touch with friends and family for support can really help improve your wellbeing.
It’s important to understand that it’s normal and okay to feel stressed at times and there is support out there if you need it. If you need additional information on understanding stress and how it affects the heart click here.
Help others for the British Heart Foundation…
There are many ways that you can help those living with heart and circulatory diseases. By becoming a volunteer for the BHF – whether at one of our 710 nationwide shops – or by supporting at an event – you’ll be playing a crucial role in helping raise money for life-saving research.
Volunteering can also help you stay physically active and do wonders for your sense of wellbeing. In fact, a BHF survey found, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) respondents stated that volunteering has improved their mental health. It’s also a great way to meet new people and become part of a team. Visit their volunteering page.