World Heart Day is celebrated each year on the 29th of September. With this in mind, we look at ways you can keep your heart healthy.
The heart is part of your body’s circulatory system. It’s made up of the atria, ventricles, valves, various arteries and veins. The main function of your heart is to keep oxygenated blood pumping around your body. Because your heart is crucial to your survival, it’s important to keep it healthy.
- Your heart will beat about 115,000 times each day.
- Your heart is the strongest muscle in your body.
- A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s heart.
- The average heart is the size of an adult fist.
- Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day.
- If you were to stretch out your blood vessel system, it would be over 60,000 miles.
- Laughing is good for your heart. It reduces stress and boosts your immune system.
- The heart can continue beating even when it’s disconnected from the body.
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death and disability in the world today, causing over 17.9 million deaths every year.
Your heart started beating about three weeks after you were conceived. If you live to be 70, it will have beaten two and a half billion times. However, although impressive and strong, your heart can also become vulnerable from risk factors like smoking, eating an unhealthy diet or putting it under stress.
The good news is there is a lot you can do to lower your risk factors for heart disease.
Try the NHS online test that tells you your heart age here
Top 10 Healthy Heart Tips
- Stop Smoking – if you are a smoker, the single best thing you can do to help prevent heart disease is to stop. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
- Get Your 5 a Day – by eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
- Get Active – being active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It is also known to be a great stress reliever and mood booster.
- Manage Your Weight – sticking to a healthy balanced diet, with lots of fruit and veg combined with physical activity can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Drink Less Alcohol – try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart. Don’t forget alcohol contains calories.
- Eat More Fibre – getting plenty of fibre in your diet (recommended 30g a day) helps to lower your risk of heart disease. You can get fibre in wholemeal bread, oats and wholegrain cereals and plenty of fruit and veg.
- Cut Down on Saturated Fat – choose leaner cuts of meat and lower fat dairy products to keep your cholesterol level in your blood low. Foods that are high in saturated fats can increase the risk of heart disease.
- Eat Fish – fish that are a source of omega-3 fats can help to protect against heart disease. Salmon, sardines, pilchards and a portion of oily fish are recommended to eat at least twice a week.
- Limit Salt – watch out for high-salt levels in ready-made foods, adults should eat less than 6g of salt in a day (about 1 teaspoon). Try to add less to your cooking and avoid using salt at the table. This will help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- Manage Stress – look out for signs you are suffering with stress, try to identify the causes and review your lifestyle. Many of the points above will help manage stress, plus getting enough sleep, time to relax and unwind. These will all help to keep your heart healthy.
You may still find yourself in a situation where you need to administer first aid for someone who is suffering from a heart attack, every minute is crucial in this situation – would you know what to do?
Want to find out more about why you should do first aid training? Click here
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