We are now into that time of year when life just seems to speed up.  Christmas parties, school holidays, Christmas shopping and lots of socialising.  At this time of the year when we are eating and maybe drinking a bit more, it’s not a bad idea to spare a thought for the body you carry around with you. I’ve come across a few bits of useful information that might help you finish the Christmas period a bit healthier than you may have begun.

And, New Year is approaching which means you probably need a new calendar.  Our free calendars have finally arrived (apologies for the delay – the horse and cart must have broken down on the Nullabor).  So don’t forget to ask for one next time you are in the pharmacy.  This is our 26th consecutive year of free calendar giveaways and, despite the technology change to digital calendars, they are more popular than ever.
7 steps to a healthy heart
If you want to protect yourself against heart disease researchers at Penn State University have confirmed seven key health measures that can predict future risk of heart problems.  These may be obvious and I’m sure you have heard them before.  But with heart disease remaining one of the biggest killers in our society and rising, it’s worth mentioning one more time. 

The seven are:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Stay active
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels

The first 4 are lifestyle choices that you can make all on your own.  The last three need to be measured and if they are not within the healthy range they require intervention.  Our pharmacist team and your doctor can help you steer you in regarding to assessment of these and necessary treatments.
Sleep for your heart
Over recent years a number of studies have shown people who don’t get enough sleep are at a greater risk of heart attack and stroke.  This has now been confirmed by more recent research that has identified that insufficient sleep reduces the flexibility of your blood vessels which is what leads to the heart attack and stroke risk.  Further to this the Sleep Health Foundation has found that up to 45% of Aussie adults are sleep deprived most nights.  Perhaps getting enough sleep should be the 8th step to a healthy heart.
Blue could be your favourite colour
A couple of interesting bits of research around blueberries.  A study from the UK found that subjects has significantly better circulatory function within 2 hours of eating 200g of blueberries.  After a month there was a reported reduction in blood pressure.  There was also a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found eating 150g of blueberries each day reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 15%.  Maybe there are now 9 steps to a healthy heart.
Dementia in Australia
Dementia is a condition we are all aware of and probably know some who has suffered with this insidious disease.  In fact, it is estimated 447000 Australians are currently living with the disease and this is estimated to increase to 590000 by 2028 and nearly 1.1 million people by 2058.  Most would be surprised to know it is the second leading cause of death of Australians.  

So why are we looking a such a dramatic increase over the next 30 years?
One reason is people living longer, which is mostly a good thing.  However, as with many health issues, there is a growing school of thought that some poorer lifestyle choices leave us a greater risk of dementia.  To this end the World Health Organisation recently released recommendations on modifiable risk reductions for dementia.  These are steps that are proven to reduce cognitive decline into our later years.  

These are:

  • Remain physically active
  • Don’t smoke
  • Good nutrition – Mediterranean style diet
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Cognitive mind training (remain mentally active)
  • Weight reduction
  • Blood pressure management
  • Diabetes management

The most obvious thing about this list is that it is very similar to the one for heart health.  The most concerning thing is that poor lifestyle choices can damage both your brain and your heart.

The Christmas Gift
There are a few things that people universally agree on as being the things they really want in life.  On most people's list their own health and the health of their family would appear somewhere.  There are certainly aspects of health that we can influence.  Of these things, the above simple articles actually contain a blueprint to good health for you and your family.  It's the like the Secret, except it's not really a secret.

If your body and your health isn't quite where you would like it to be give yourself a gift this Christmas.  Find one thing on the lists above that you don't do well and make a committment to change.

As always, our team are on hand to speak with you about these and any other health issues.  We have a pharmacist on duty every day of the week.  So please feel free to drop in or give us a call.

Live Longer

Baldivis Pharmacy

Cnr Wattlebird Way & Ridge Boulevard, 

Baldivis, WA, 6171

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