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BLOG: Simple ways to reduce your risk score

BLOG: Simple ways to reduce your risk score

The Norfolk NHS Health Check service is delivered directly to residents by our friendly Health Check Practitioner team. We asked one of them, Kirsty, to provide some top tips for reducing your risk score.

"The NHS Health Checks involves a series of simple assessments and tests that are used to establish your cardiovascular disease risk score.

"This risk score is an estimate of how likely you are to get heart disease or have a stroke in the next 10 years. You’ll also find out your possible risk of developing kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes.

"The higher your risk score, the more likely you are to develop one of these illnesses.

"You will be scored as either Low, Medium or High risk.

"If you are concerned you might score in the Medium or High risk bracket you might want to think about simple ways you can reduce your score.

"Here are our seven top tips. Building these healthy habits in will all add up to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. And if you slip up one day remember – it’s progress not perfection we should focus on. Keep going!

  1. Consistency is really important
    As we introduce small changes consistently to our daily patterns, we gradually see them have a positive impact on our lifestyles. It’s not what we do occasionally that gets us where we want to be its what we do consistently that counts.
  2. Don’t change everything at once
    When we need to make lifestyle changes, we often become overwhelmed and tempted to try to change every unhealthy habit we have at once. This is difficult to sustain – and slipping up may lead us to feeling like we have failed. The truth is the unhealthy habits didn’t all happen at once, gradually they crept in over a period – it’s okay to reverse in the same way.
  3. Stop smoking
    Giving up smoking will have a huge impact on your risk score. You’re three times more to quit with support than by going it alone. Find your local stop smoking programme for support or talk to your GP.
  4. Reduce your alcohol consumption
    It is recommended to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. Spread yours across three days or more. Try replacing every other drink with a soft drink when out socialising – that’s have your units taken care of!
  5. Get moving
    Sedentary living can be bad for our health. It affects our weight primarily, plus other important health factors. Getting moving can improve your body and mind. It is recommended that we should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, increasing our heart rate in 10-minute bursts so that we can still talk but not sing. It could be as simple as walking a little more every day or finding a fun way to get out and about.
  6. Share with your friends and family
    Share what you are doing with people. They can motivate you and support you not to go off track. They may also join you in an activity or lifestyle change themselves!
  7. Make plans
    Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Plan your meals, make shopping lists, make time for exercise are all great places to start. Being organised can help avoid those bad, quick decisions which can often be influenced by lack of time or resources."