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Heart disease: ‘Faddy crash diets’ may not provide necessary nutrients – dietary tips

Dr Chris on the link between paracetamol and heart disease

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Research is ongoing but advice centres on a number of food and food groups to include and reduce. There are around 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The charity suggests that with an ageing and growing population and improved survival rates from heart and circulatory events, we could see these numbers rise still further.

Indeed, the BHF states: “A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and stop you gaining weight, reducing your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.”

The charity says: “Everyone should aim for a well balanced diet. Faddy crash diets may not provide the balance of nutrients you need.”

It notes that too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

“Eating too much salt can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.”

Moreover, if you drink alcohol, the BHF says it is important to keep within the recommended guidelines – whether you drink every day, once or twice a week or just occasionally.

If you currently eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red or processed meat a day, the Department of Health and Social Care advises that you cut down to 70g.

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés, according to the NHS.

The University of Oxford says that overall, the evidence from the analysis indicated that each 50g/day higher intake of processed meat increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 18 percent.

The BHF also warns that eating too much salt can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. It explains having high blood pressure increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Heart disease also covers conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or cause abnormal rhythms.

The CDC says: “Sometimes heart disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia.”

The organisation suggests when these events happen, symptoms may include shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.

The Cleveland Clinic says you can reduce your cardiovascular risks by:

  • Avoiding all tobacco products.
  • Managing other health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Exercising at least 30 to 60 minutes per day on most days.
  • Reducing and managing stress.

“It’s important to note that women or older adults may have more subtle symptoms, but still have serious cardiovascular disease,” it adds.

The Mayo Clinic says: “The most common heart attack symptom in women is the same as in men — some type of chest pain, pressure or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes.

“But chest pain is not always severe or even the most noticeable symptom, particularly in women.

“Women often describe heart attack pain as pressure or tightness. And it’s possible to have a heart attack without chest pain.”

The organisation adds: “If you have symptoms of a heart attack or think you’re having one, call for emergency medical help immediately. Don’t drive yourself to the emergency room unless you have no other options.”

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