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HOW TO HELP YOUR HEART IN FEBRUARY FOR NATIONAL HEART MONTH 1st-28th…

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?

National Heart Month Display Banner

Read through this post to see how you can help your heart and support the BHF (British Heart Foundation) this Heart Month

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.

Here are some of the ways which you can improve your heart health and support the BHF during Heart Month:

Three women completing trek in Yorkshire countryside

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.

Get Moving

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. 

Eat Healthily

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.

If you need some tasty recipes to get you started, check out the BHF online magazine, Heart Matters, which has plenty of delicious options.

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.

CPR kit

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.

READ MORE ABOUT HEART MONTH

Source: British Heart Foundation, Heart UK

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TODAY IS CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT AWARENESS DAY, & NATIONAL NATIONAL DONOR DAY…

CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT AWARENESS DAY –  14th February is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, an annual campaign to honour and remember everyone born with a heart defect and all of the families and friends touched by children with heart defects. It is an observance to promote awareness and education about congenital heart defects (CHDs). In addition, the medical professionals who care for those born with heart defects are recognized on this day, as are the experts who are involved in conducting research for treating and preventing heart defects.

CHDs are conditions that are present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. They can affect how blood flows through the heart and out to the rest of the body. CHDs can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart). According to the American Heart Association, congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. CHDs affect 1 out of every 100 newborns.

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Signs and symptoms for CHDs depend on the type and severity of the particular defect. Some defects might have few or no signs or symptoms. Others might cause a baby to have the following symptoms:

  • Pale gray or blue skin color
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Flared nostrils
  • Tiredness when feeding
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes

Some CHDs may be diagnosed during pregnancy using a special type of ultrasound called a fetal echocardiogram, which creates ultrasound pictures of the heart of the developing baby. However, some CHDs are not detected until after birth or later in life, during childhood or adulthood. If a healthcare provider suspects a CHD may be present, the baby can get several tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for CHDs depends on the type and severity of the defect present. Some congenital heart defects in children are complex and may require several surgeries performed over a period of many years. Some can be treated without surgery. Sometimes, the heart defect can’t be fully repaired, but these procedures can improve blood flow and the way the heart works.

Read more about congenital heart disease here.

Observed each year on February 14, National Donor Day (also known as National Organ Donor Day) is a day to increase awareness about organ donation and the lives that can be saved. In the United States, there are close to 120,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ donation. According to Donate Life America, another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes, and 22 people die each day waiting for an organ.

National Donor Day focuses on five different types of donations:  Organs – Tissues – Marrow – Platelets – Blood.  Many nonprofit health organizations sponsor blood and marrow drives and organ/tissue sign-ups across the nation.  Look into becoming a donor.  Visit RegisterMeDonate Life, and OrganDonor.gov for more information on organ donation.

With so many currently waiting for precious organ transplants depend on the public to sign up with their state’s organ donor registries on National Donor Day every February 14. It’s a more concrete way to show love than giving heart-shaped candy, roses and red velvet teddy bears. By donating organs such as corneas, tissue, marrow, platelets and blood; you create a living legacy of your generosity with the ultimate gift of love.

Source: CT Surgery Patients, National Today

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DO ONE THING IN THE NEW YEAR TO HELP OTHERS – LEARN CPR…

With New Year nearly upon us and many of us thinking of things we might like to change or do in 2022, why not make a New Year resolution that you will learn CPR.

Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation could dramatically increase someone’s chance of survival. To find out more or to book a training session head to the Creating Life Savers website.

Creating Life Savers writes when someone has a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by at least 7-10%. Knowing how to perform CPR could help to save someone’s life. Having access to a defibrillator can improve survival rates by 50-70%.

The Creating Lifesavers team are therefore aiming to teach as many people as possible about the vital benefits of learning CPR skills and encouraging companies across the country to invest in life-saving defibrillators for their communities.

In case you did not know how performing helps the patient. CPR increases the chances of survival because it ensures that a flow of oxygen rich blood is pumped to the brain and vital organs. This also increases the likelihood of the heart remaining in a ‘shockable’ rhythm, rather than deteriorating to a ‘non-shockable’ (flat-line) rhythm. It increases the potential success of resuscitating someone with a shock from a defibrillator.

A few shocking stats are that between 12 and 15 young people die from heart related causes each week. Every year, there are 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK. Make a commitment and go on a course at Creating Life Savers and learn CPR in 2022.

Details on how to perform CPR are available on the NHS Website and Creating Life Savers.