Imagine a plumbing pipe in your home that gets furred up from the lime scale in our water supply, or a pipe burst in the freezing cold weather.
Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands is it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.
Consider then what would happen if you had a blockage in your arteries. High blood pressure causes pressure build-up within our arteries and so does plaque build-up. These two common causes of heart attacks and strokes have no symptoms. Very often the symptom IS the heart attack or the stroke which is why you hear people say “oh he/she was as fit as a fiddle and then dropped dead”!
How would your business cope if your stress levels became too much and you experienced a heart attack or a stroke?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest killer in Europe. You may find some of the following statistics alarming :-
- Almost 1 in 5 men and 1 in 8 women die from heart disease.
- Heart Disease is responsible for 82,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 224 people each day
- More than 26,000 people under the age of 75 in the UK died from Heart Disease in 2009
- There are nearly 7 million people living with heart disease in the UK
- There are more than 1.6 million men and more than a million women with heart disease in the UK.
- Death rates from heart disease are highest in Scotland and northern England and lowest in southern England
- The UK spends 2 billion each year on healthcare costs for heart disease.
Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Most deaths from heart disease are caused by a heart attack.
- There are around 124,000 heart attacks in the UK each year.
- Around 62,000 men and 39,000 women in England suffer a heart attack each year.
- In England, around 11% of men and 15% of women who were admitted to hospital with a heart attack die within 30 days.
- The chances of dying from a heart attack increases with age and is higher in women than men.
- We estimate there are around 1,000,000 men and nearly 500,000 women living in the UK who have had a heart attack. More than 900,000 of these are under the age of 75.
- Every six minutes someone dies of a heart attack in the UK
- One in three people who have a heart attack die before reaching hospital.
- Around 750,000 people are living with heart failure in the UK.
- We estimate there are more than 27,000 new cases of heart failure in the UK each year.
- Incidence of heart failure is 60% higher in men compared with women.
- Incidence of heart failure is highest in Northern Ireland.
- Stroke causes more than 49,000 deaths in the UK each year
- In England and Scotland, stroke incidence rates are about 25% higher in men than women.
- Around 84,000 men and 68,000 women in England suffer a stroke every year.
- There are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK each year
- We estimate nearly 2 million people living in the UK have had a stroke – roughly evenly split between men and women. Around half of these people are under the age of 75
Risk factors of heart disease
- In Great Britain, 21% of adults smoke cigarettes.
- Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and a study of British doctors found smokers had around a 60% greater chance of dying from heart disease than non- smokers.
- The prevalence of smoking is higher in Scotland and Northern Ireland compared to England and Wales.
- Around 1/4 of adults in England are obese.
- Around 30% of boys and girls aged 2 to 15 in England and Scotland are overweight or obese
- Only 1/3 of men and women currently eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg per day in Britain.
- Only around one in five boys and girls aged 5 to 15 consume the recommended amount of fruit and veg.
- More than 1/3 of men and nearly1/3 of women regularly exceed the government recommended level of alcohol intake.
- Around one in three adults in England and Scotland have high blood pressure and nearly half of them are not receiving treatment for the condition.
- Around 6 in 10 adults in England have high blood cholesterol levels of 5mmol/l or above.
Statistics are taken from the British Heart Foundation 2010 update
So what can we do to minimise our risk of having a heart attack or a stroke?
- Keep an eye on your weight – don’t allow yourself to become obese!
- Take moderate exercise daily
- Eat a healthy balanced nutritional diet
- Minimise alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Regularly check your blood pressure
- Minimise your stress levels
- Have a non-invasive artery health check every 6 months to check your level of plaque build-up (Rikki Hunt Associates can arrange this for you locally)
- Take a natural food supplement that improves cardiovascular health if your artery health check readings are high (recommended for some people who want fast track results and enjoy long term arterial health)
- Drink 2-3 litres of good quality water daily
- Surround yourself with positive thoughts, actions and people
Know your own body. Listen to your intuition as well as checking for physical symptoms such as tingling fingers, chest pain, and slurred speech.
Look after your body. Consider some of the points above. If you have much to improve in terms of lifestyle changes, then tackle one area at a time so that you are not overwhelmed.
Don’t go mad on exercise unless you know how fit you are on the inside – especially extreme sports or running log events. We hear too often about runner who push themselves hard and then die. Take a look at this case study that saved the life of a runner in 2013 http://www.healthwatchersuk.co.uk/bath-half-marathon-example.htm
A Healthy 2015
The risk factors for CVD are also the same for diabetes and cancer. You will be doing yourself a great service by starting 2015 with a view to improving your overall health and wellbeing.
If you need help, then feel free to contact me to share your personal challenges. I can probably give you a few pointers from my own wide experience.
Most importantly DON’T PANIC – poor arterial health IS REVERSIBLE!
I wish you a happy and healthy 2015. Health Risk follows…….by adopting the above lifestyle changes you may not die from a heart attack or a stroke but please check as you cross the road – it would be horrid to get run over by a bus !!
About the author:- Elaine Godley MBA, FRSA is a Consultant with Rikki Hunt Associates and is the founder of www.healthwatchersuk.co.uk. Born with a kidney disease that wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 21, Elaine cured herself using natural techniques after being on anti-biotics for 23 years and told she would be on them for life. She has also endured 9 operations and travelled over 11,000 miles for breast cancer treatment for which she takes no drugs and uses a selection of natural therapies.
Her business activities have not been affected by her health challenges…in fact they’ve improved! Elaine mentors business leaders and teams to enjoy the best of health and uses behavioural profiling to illustrate how team members can help themselves to avoid health risks in the workplace.
Contact us to find out how we can help