10 Facts About Heart Health You Should Know
The heart is a major organ that is responsible for supplying the body with oxygenated blood that is used by the lungs, muscles, brain, and other organs.
Having a healthy heart is essential for living a long and healthy life.
If you neglect the health of your heart or circulatory system, it can lead to some very serious medical problems including heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
This article will share some important health facts to help you keep your heart in great shape.
#1 — Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer
Coronary heart disease remains the number 1 killer in the UK, with approximately 160,000 people dying from heart and circulatory disease each year.
Globally, about 17.3 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year, which accounts for 30% of all deaths.
These shocking statistics highlight the importance of looking after your heart health.
#2 — Healthy blood vessels are important for heart health
There are a variety of medical conditions that can affect the health of the arteries, causing more strain on the heart muscle.
The most common of these conditions is atherosclerosis, which is more commonly known as hardening of the arteries.
Atherosclerosis occurs when the arteries become clogged with fatty substances known as plaques.
Plaques cause the arteries to harden and become narrow, which makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body.
The heart muscle is placed under a lot of strain and the chances of a heart attack, stroke, or angina become much higher.
It is important to know the risk factors of atherosclerosis, which include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and diabetes.
#3 — Heart disease is a type of cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.
This includes heart disease, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, heart arrhythmia, angina, and stroke.
Heart disease refers to any condition which causes the blood supply to the heart to be restricted or blocked.
#4 — Age and fitness levels will affect your heart rate
The fitter you are the slower your resting heart rate will be.
The reason for this is simple — a strong heart muscle can pump blood around the body more efficiently.
Your age will also determine how quickly your heart beats, with young children having much faster heart rates that adults.
#5 — Your maximum heart rate declines as you age
Because older hearts can’t beat as quickly as younger hearts, your maximum heart rate (MHR) will continue to drop as you age.
To get a rough idea of your MHR, subtract your age from 220.
So, if you are 40, you MHR will be somewhere around 180 beats per minute.
Knowing your maximum heart rate is useful because it will help you exercise efficiently.
Most experts suggest that moderate cardiovascular exercise should be performed at between 55 to 85% of your MHR.
For a 40 year old that would be between 99 and 153 beats per minute.
#6 — Smoking is very bad for your heart health – Seriously if this is news to you, then your heart is most likely suffering!
Smoking is a risk factor for many types of cardiovascular diseases including heart disease and stroke.
Researchers suspect smoking is particularly bad for heart health because it reduces the amount of high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol) leading to an increase in low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol).
Low-density lipoprotein is the form of cholesterol that increases the risk of atherosclerosis.
#7 — Heart attack symptoms differ between men and women
Heart attacks kill millions of men and women around the world each year.
It’s important to know that the symptoms can vary between the sexes.
Men tend to experience extreme upper chest pain, nausea and sweating before and during.
Women often report shortness of breath, pain in the lower chest, dizziness, fainting, and lightheadedness.
#8 — A sedentary lifestyle is one of the greatest risk factors for heart disease
Researchers have discovered that people who don’t exercise often and have a sedentary lifestyle have a much greater risk of heart disease.
The best way to reduce this exercise is to exercise and move about often during the day.
The American Heart Association recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise each week.
#9 — Salt is very bad for heart health
Excessive salt consumption is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, which can cause cardiovascular disease.
Avoid foods high in salt, which includes processed meals, crisps, cured meat, and cereal.
#10 — Depression is linked to heart disease
Researchers have discovered that depression is a major risk factor for the early onset of heart disease, particularly for women.
If you often find yourself depressed, seek treatment from your doctor and make lifestyle changes to relieve your depression.
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