Heart health - how to look after yours

It is a shocking fact that Sudden Cardiac Arrest kills 2000 people a week in the UK alone, but there is much you can do to keep your heart healthy, whatever your age. The British Heart Foundation gives advice on how to look after your heart and your health. Prevention is the first step. Taking exercise, eating a healthy diet and being aware of dangers such as smoking, drinking, high blood pressure and stress all help. Prevention is as relevant to people who already have heart disease as it is for everyone else and “wellness” benefits, which are a popular addition to many international health insurance plans, have a role to play here too, enabling policyholders to have comprehensive free health check-ups as part of their worldwide private health insurance cover. In every case, it’s about getting the balance right.

We should all be thinking about our heart health and what we can do to keep as healthy as possible. Disease of the heart and circulation is an umbrella term for several types of conditions including heart attacks, stroke and disturbances to your heart’s rhythm. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease – heart attacks and angina. Symptoms include central chest pain, dull pain, ache or a ‘heavy’ feeling in your chest or a mild discomfort in your chest that makes you feel generally unwell. The pain or discomfort may feel like a bad episode of indigestion. This pain or discomfort may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. As well as having chest pain or discomfort some people can feel light headed or dizzy and short of breath. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a heart problem, you may be feeling worried, overwhelmed or anxious. Sometimes understanding you heart problem and knowing the facts can help you come to terms with it and help you feel less worried.

International private health insurance specialists April International UK’s CEO Debbie Purser says, “Working away from home as an expat can often be very stressful. Long working hours, strange living conditions and, different climates all add to the pressure. Having a comprehensive private health insurance policy which also covers you for the effects of heart conditions can certainly go some way to relieving some of the stress and knowing that you and your family will be cared for in the event of a problem can be very reassuring.  At April International, we also encourage policyholders to make maximum use of their wellness benefit, if they have chosen this option, as prevention is so important, particularly in a foreign country. ”For many people who are unlikely enough to be affected by heart health complication, it can be a debilitating condition where normal everyday tasks such as having a shower or bath, doing the shopping or simply playing with the children takes enormous energy and can leave you breathless and exhausted.

The British Heart Foundation’s online magazine, heart matters, has great information on living with a heart condition and how you can keep your heart healthy after a heart attack. Debbie Purser from April International UK continued, “It is a sad fact that heart issues are very prevalent in many modern societies. In the USA, the 2010 National Health Interview Survey found that twelve present of adults had been told by a doctor or health professional that they had heart disease and a staggering 25% had been told on two or more visits that they had hypertension or high blood pressure. Whilst there are many other factors at play in the USA, including diet, these statistics do illustrate clearly the risks we all run from heart related problems and why it is so important have the correct private medical insurance in place.