Your heart matters

The heart helps the rest of your body work by pumping oxygen and nutrients to every muscle.

The heart is about the size of a clenched fist and beats an average 100, 000 times every 24 hours, pumping around 5 litres of blood every minute.

Cardio-vascular disease is also known as heart and circulatory disease and can affect you in different ways. For example, coronary heart disease is a type of cardio-vascular disease, and includes angina, heart attack and strokes.

Coronary heart disease:

Coronary heart disease is caused by a build up of fatty deposits on the walls of arteries which makes it harder for blood and oxygen to travel to the heart.

Angina - When enough blood or oxygen can’t be delivered to the heart, this can lead to pain or discomfort in your chest.

Heart Attack - This is when the fatty deposits break away to form a blood clot which will starve the heart of blood and oxygen

What can cause these problems

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diabetes
  • A family history of heart disease
  • Age – as you get older, your risk increases
  • Ethnic group – some ethnic groups have a higher risk of heart disease. South Asian people living in the UK have a higher risk that the rest of the UK population.

Symptoms of heart disease can be

  • Breathlessness
  • Swelling of ankles and feet
  • Tiredness, which can be mild or severe

A healthy diet full of vegetables and fruit such as lentils, okra, apples and oranges, and plenty of exercise will not only help to keep your weight down but also your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and help to reduce stress.

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