With heart disease becoming more prevalent among people in their 30s and 40s, consultant cardiologist Dr Sundeep Kalra and centre director Graham Clark at London’s OneWelbeck Heart Health, share the best ways to reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, from the best foods to eat to what tests to have. The expert team also reveal how OneWelbeck’s new technology can provide a quick diagnosis for heart problems, helping you to stay healthy…

Photo: OneWelbeck

When is a good time to get checked for heart disease?

“Cardiovascular risk actually begins in your 20s,” says Sundeep. “The national demographic is getting younger and it’s not unusual to be diagnosed in your 30s.”

He explains how coronary artery disease is a reduction of the heart’s blood supply because of a build-up of fatty substances, and the rise in the disease amongst younger people could be attributed to excessive smoking and obesity.

“The belief that you only become at risk in your 40s is false – this disease is not limited, nor restricted, to the older generation and we need to dispel that myth,” he adds.

Although practising good health, maintaining a balanced diet and active lifestyle can help lower cardiovascular risk, Sundeep emphasises the importance of prevention before cure, and advises getting checked sooner rather than later.

Do I need to be showing symptoms to get checked for heart problems?

Common symptoms can include chest discomfort, dizziness, heart palpitations, heartburn, shortness of breath or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen.

However, Graham explains you don’t necessarily need to be showing any symptoms to get tested. OneWelbeck provides comprehensive preventative testing for asymptomatic patients under one roof, which you’ll struggle to find anywhere else. He says: “We offer availability for anyone, at any age, symptomatic or not, to get tested and receive an analysis of their heart health.”

OneWelbeck offers immediate appointment availability so you can get your heart tested sooner, rather than later. Credit: OneWelbeck.

What is the best way to check for heart problems early on?

“We have just installed our new heart health screen product at OneWelbeck Heart Health,” Graham tells us. “This calculates the percentage chance of a cardiac event happening in the next five to 10 years. It will also show results from previous ECG scans and blood tests, which our healthcare assistants can use to provide recommendations on lifestyle moderations to combat the risk.”

As opposed to generic wellness companies, the clinic is a highly specialised one, offering a better quality of expertise, experience and efficient treatments. “Following the test results, if further action is required, we offer instant appointment availability with a consultant cardiologist to deal with any issues immediately,” Graham says.

Who’s most at risk from coronary artery disease?

“There are modifiable and non-modifiable causes of poor heart health,” Sundeep tells us. Whilst sometimes the risk is attributed to family heritage, suitable medication, as well as fitness and lifestyle changes, can still be adopted to reduce your chances.

Modifiable causes (which can be changed):

High blood pressure Diabetes High cholesterol Obesity Smoking

Non-modifiable (which can’t be changed but should be taken into account for treatment):

Age Gender (men are more at risk and women are before menopause) Asian heritage Family history

Consultations take place within 24 hours of your heart health tests at OneWelbeck Heart Health centre. Credit: OneWelbeck.

How can I get checked easily and receive a quick diagnosis?

With an absence of symptoms, individuals usually cannot meet with a cardiologist, but this is standard practice at OneWelbeck Heart Health. “We offer a standardised, in-house service in one place. We can provide a better service this way and it’s more convenient for our clients who get the answers they need after one visit,” Graham says.

A remote, video consultation will be arranged with one of the clinic’s cardiologists 24 hours after tests have taken place.

How can I keep my heart healthy?

Sundeep shares three easy tips for keeping your heart healthy:

Portion control – It’s not just about what you eat, but how much you eat. Try portioning out your daily meals with wholesome foods that will keep you full, so you only eat when you’re hungry, and not when you’re bored. Reduce sugar and saturated fat intake – You don’t need to cut them out, but aim to minimise or restrict sugary snacks and fatty takeaways and introduce more fresh fruit and vegetables into your daily diet instead. Exercise three times a week – You don’t need to be going for long runs or burning yourself out in the gym if that’s not your style – three 20-minute walks each week is a great start to improving fitness.

OneWelbeck offer a professional service with experienced cardiologist consultants that you won’t find elsewhere. Credit: OneWelbeck.

He also shares some of the top heart-healthy foods to add to your diet:

Whole grains – Oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and wholewheat are great sources of protein to add to your dishes. Dark leafy greens – Spinach and kale can easily be added to meals or sandwiches. Nuts and seeds – Mixed into meals or as a mid-day snack, these small chunks of goodness are great for reducing heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol. Avocados – This popular fruit reduces cholesterol and can be added to salads, smoothies or toast.

OneWelbeck Heart Health Centre is easily accessible via several underground routes through Bond Street, Baker Street and Oxford Circus.

For more information about heart screening at Welbeck’s specialised cardiology clinic, visit onewelbeck.com/cardiology

To speak to the OneWelbeck team or to book an appointment, contact HeartHealth@OneWelbeck.com or call 0203 653 2005.