Is your heart in check?

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Heart disease runs in our family. Sadly both of our Father’s parents died young from heart disease so for the two of us it is something that plays on our mind and makes us even more determined to live a healthy life and look after our hearts. Even though the two of us make a big effort to be as healthy as possible, we are both conscious that our cholesterol is something we need to monitor throughout our lives to ensure we don’t increase our risk of the disease.  Our Dad had high cholesterol before changing his diet to a plant based one and exercising more regularly and now it looks like he is in the clear.

The Heart Foundation states that 1 in every 20 New Zealanders are affected by Heart Disease and every 90 minutes someone in New Zealand will die from it. It is the leading cause of death in New Zealand and it is responsible for 30% of deaths annually. Heart Disease (Cardiovascular Disease) is when your heart or blood vessels are not working properly, and it is the term used to cover all the diseases that affect the heart. Heart Disease is caused by high cholesterol levels which are caused by having too much cholesterol in your blood stream, this can increase your chance of having a stroke or heart attack. High cholesterol is often thought of something that is only an issue for older generations when many New Zealanders under 25 are now experiencing this issue which is very scary!

Last week Julia and I visited our local pharmacy for an EasyCheck Cholesterol Complete test, the cholesterol test which is now available at select Unichem and Life Pharmacies across New Zealand making it super easy to access and no waiting for results as they are instant.

If you smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of this disease it should be your priority to have a blood cholesterol test to rule anything out. The test is very simple and all that is needed is a drop of blood that is taken from a finger-prick blood test by a trained pharmacist. We promise it doesn't hurt!  The sample of blood is then tested to see what your cholesterol levels are to determine your risk of heart disease. If your levels are out of the normal range, the pharmacist will refer you onto your GP for further testing.

You do not need an appointment to book in for the test and it takes around 10 minutes to complete. By completing the test you have the peace of mind to ensure you are not at risk of having heart disease, and if you are then you can take the appropriate steps to lower your risk.

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If you do have high cholesterol it is vital that you begin to manage your levels by increasing the amount of exercise you do each day, eating a healthy diet that is rich in leafy green vegetables, legumes and beans, increasing the amount of water you drink per day, cutting down on refined sugar, watching your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.

An EasyCheck Cholesterol Complete test costs $39.99 which includes a consultation from the pharmacist. If you do have heart disease or high cholesterol in your family, I urge you to have a cholesterol test to rule out any complications later in life! Click on link for a list of Unichem and Life Pharmacies that provide this service

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