Take heart from a healthy message

Russell Millner at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Russell Millner at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

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THREE simple lifestyle changes could help save people from Britain’s biggest killer, according to a top Blackpool surgeon.

Russell Millner, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, says if people stopped smoking, ate a healthy balanced diet – watching calorie and sugar intake, and did a sensible amount of exercise, they could substantially boost their heart health.

His advice comes as part of National Health Month which runs throughout February.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is urging people to think of doing just one thing to help look after their heart this month, as now may be the time New Year’s Resolutions to lead a healthier lifestyle may have gone out the window.

Mr Millner, who sees the end results of heart problems and has to try to fix them, said: “You’ve only got to look outside on to the streets of Blackpool and you will see how many young people are overweight and smoking. You realise it is an epidemic in the making.

“And we know from the American model a consequence of obesity is reduced lifespan.

“We have heard a lot about a low-fat lifestyle for many years, but at the end of the day, we still have an obesity problem. Perhaps we need to look at overall calorie intake, particularly of refined carbohydrates and sugar.

“The second thing is, it says ‘smoking kills on cigarette packets for a reason.

“It does kill. And it kills the person smoking, not someone else. Smokers die younger and that message, it seems, is not getting through to younger people.

“And thirdly, a sensible amount of exercise is good for you.

“This does two things, it exercises the muscles and helps keep them in good condition and the heart is like any other muscle in the body.

“And it will help suck up some of the excess calories people eat.

“It can be things like walking to the next bus stop or not taking the car to work one day, or walking to the shops.

“If people can think about these things and make these changes when they are younger, they will bring a whole lot of benefits.”

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