So today I followed this bus into town, and it shocked me. How can that be? Why is it so high? How do we educate people about this?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels, and there are a few different types. One of the main types of CVD is coronary heart disease CHD, which is commonly caused by lifestyle choices. Main causes of CVD include high blood pressure, inactivity, smoking, high cholesterol, and being overweight or obese. There are also genetic factors that can lead to CVD and CHD, but this is a small proportion of cases compared to those caused by decisions we make.
We as humans all vary in size and shape, and require different amounts of energy to perform our daily tasks, however, we as a species have decided its ‘ok’ to consume a massive surplus of energy for no real reason. For example, in England over 63% of people are overweight; it has become the norm to be overweight, even to the point where it has affected children. 1 in 5 children begin primary school overweight, by the time they leave, it is 1 in 3 and statistics show that as age we are more likely to become overweight or obese.
I’m not saying everyone should be chasing those summer abs, or running marathons, but by staying active and keeping an eye on your diet you WILL be healthier, you WILL live longer and you WILL feel better. Not to mention you’ll save the NHS millions…
CHD is mainly caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inactivity, leading to artery blockages known as atherosclerosis. High cholesterol is caused by what we put into our body, it is a build up of low density lipoproteins which are associated with fatty foods. The good news is we also produce high density lipoproteins which can reverse the negative effects, but we need to reduce the amount of ‘bad’ fats in our diet (trans and saturated fats), and increase the ‘good’ fats, like those found in eggs, avocado and nuts.
You can also decrease the risk of CHD and CVD by increasing the amount you move, like I said you don’t need to be running marathons, but any activity is better than nothing. Exercise helps reduce blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and obviously helps reduce your weight, which will reduce the strain on your cardiovascular system.
Most people don’t even realise they are overweight, and an easy way to work it out is to calculate your BMI (Weight (kg)/(Height x Height) (m)) if your BMi is above 25, you are most likely over weight. I say ‘most likely’ as they are a FEW exceptions, e.g. extremely muscly people, but for the majority and for average people, the rule applies.
So what’s the point in writing or reading this? Maybe there isn’t one, maybe you don’t care, but chances are if you read this and you may realise the importance of taking care of your body, it isn’t about how you fit you are, how toned or how muscly, it’s about your general health and wellbeing.
- Be honest with yourself, are you overweight? Do you need to make a change?
- Be mindful about what you are eating and how much of it
- Move more, whether it be walking, running or going to the gym, it doesn’t matter
- Exercise and nutrition is much more than ‘Fitness’, its based around HEALTH
Be smart. Stay Healthy. Live longer.