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Self Care Week: Five top tips to look after your heart

Posted: 19th November 2020

As part of this week’s Self Care Week, the annual awareness week which aims to increase people’s ability to look after their own health and wellbeing, we are looking at one of the initiatives we are leading on to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts is a three-year project that aims to help reduce CVD including heart attacks and strokes across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. There are many things that people can do look after their heart. Now that there are COVID19 lockdown restrictions in place, it is even more important for people to do everything they can to look after their health and wellbeing.

Dr Steve Ollerton, a GP and Clinical Sponsor for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts, said:

“Without realising it, we actually self-care every day, be it something as simple as brushing our teeth or doing some exercise. However, we can also use self-care to treat common ailments or long-term conditions and avoid preventable illnesses such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes”.

Cardiovascular disease, also known as CVD, is responsible for one in four premature deaths in the U.K. and it’s one of the biggest causes of death and disability¹. However, there are some steps that can help people lower their risk of developing CVD:

  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce the use of alcohol
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat, salt and sugar

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative in collaboration with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and its partners aims to help reduce the risk of CVD across the region tackling three main risk factors: high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol and diabetes.

For instance, high blood pressure (hypertension) is common, affecting at least one quarter of adults in the UK. It often has no symptoms, but when found, is one of the most preventable causes of early death in the U.K. According to studies, lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of major cardiovascular disease events by 20%, coronary heart disease by 17%, stroke by 27% and heart failure by 28%.

If someone has high blood pressure, their heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This means that there is an increased risk of a heart attack or a stroke. High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in kidneys or eyes. The higher the blood pressure is, the greater the risk.

Visit the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts website

Follow @WYHHealthyHeart on Twitter

Contact our Healthy Hearts Programme Manager, Pete Waddingham at

Watch the video below if you would like an overview of the key aims of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts project