In Ireland, thousands of people have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. These are the main causes for cardiovascular disease and stroke and the death rate statistics relating to this are frightening.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is very common in Ireland – over half of the Irish population aged 50 and over have high blood pressure. Heart disease causes over 10.000 deaths each year making it the number one cause of deaths in Ireland (33% of all deaths). As well as this, approximately 10,000 people in Ireland suffer from a stroke causing the death of roughly 2,000 people annually. Strokes are the cause of major disabilities to survivors and are the number one cause of acquired disability in Ireland.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer, because it has no warning signs or symptoms — until a stroke or heart attack occurs. There are many causes/reasons for high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels and as these are latent issues, people should be aware of the main causes:
• People with diabetes are more susceptible.
• Family history.
• Excess consumption of alcohol.
• Unbalanced diet.
• If you are overweight.
• Too much stress.
• Lack of physical exercise.
One of the best ways to prevent heart disease and stroke is to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels.
Fortunately, both high blood pressure and high cholesterol is easy to detect — and there are proven ways to bring it under control without the use of any medications. Lifestyle and nutrition can be managed to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
It has been proven that physical activity lowers mortality risk. The more exercise you do the lower the risk of mortality and vice versa. Likewise with nutrition, the correct intake can decrease your risk of suffering from a cardiovascular disease or stroke.
It is universally known that fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and "good fats" are all part of a heart-healthy diet. However, there are particular foods that can drastically change your cholesterol levels for the better:
• Oats eg. Porridge or a cereal like Cheerios for breakfast (add fruit for more soluble fibre).
• Beans eg. kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas (keep you fuller for longer).
• Nuts eg. almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts (protect the heart, can lower LDL).
• Fruit and Veg - Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body's ability to absorb cholesterol from food (also available as supplements).
• Fatty fish - replace fish with meat two or three times a week (fish contains omega 3 fats which reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protects the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms).
As well as increasing your intake of particular foods, intake of saturated fats and trans fats should be limited as they boost your LDL.
The benefits of health screening can be felt by both the employer and the employee alike. Health screening is an effective way of increasing employee morale, and leads to reduced sickness and levels of absenteeism.
Smoking Cessation Programmes, Carbon Monoxide Lung Analysis, Cardiovascular Risk Assessment, Alcohol Awareness/Risk Assessment, Spirometry, Celiac Testing, Weight and Stress Management.