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Maintaining Heart Health!

Today we are covering heart- related problems such as CVD, how to maintain heart health as well as heart attack related First Aid!

Some interesting facts about the heart...

  • Your heart beats approximately 100,000 times each day.

  • The heart is the strongest muscle in your body.

  • Women's hearts beats a little faster than a men's.

  • The average size of an adult's fist is the size of the heart.

  • Your heart pumps around 2,000 litres of blood every day.

  • Your blood vessel system reaches more than 6000 kilometers if it were to be layed out.

  • Laughter can benefit your heart. It eases the tension and strengthens your immune system.

  • The heart can still beat when it is not connected to the body.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) & Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

CVD is an illness that affects the heart or blood vessels. It is frequently accompanied by an accumulation of fatty deposits in arteries and a higher risk of blood clots. CHD is a condition that develops where the major blood vessels to the heart are diseased or damaged. They are very similar in how the risk for each is reduced and prevention methods but they differ in that CHD includes damage to the heart and blood vessels whether it be from a defect or injury and not just acquired issues such as dis

Your heart began to beat just 3 weeks after you were concepted and it will have to beat 2.5 billion times for you to reach 70 years old. Although your heart may be the strongest and most used muscle, it can become weak due to factors such as smoking, an unhealthy diet or putting unnecessary stress on it.

In our lifetimes, 1 in 2 of us will develop a heart-related condition. It has become crucial to pay attention to heart health.

The good news is there are lots of simple things you can do to improve your hearts health…

  1. Quit Smoking – for a smoker, the best thing you can do to prevent heart disease - is to stop. After a year from giving up, risk of a heart attack falls to about half.

  2. Get Your '5 a Day' – eating a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day- a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, essential for strong muscles and immune systems.

  3. Be Active – being active reduces your risk of developing heart disease and known to be a stress reliever.

  4. Watch Your Weight – sticking to a balanced diet, with lots of fruit and veg combined with physical activity can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

  5. Consume Less Alcohol – try to keep to an alcohol limit as this reduces the risk of serious problems not only with your general health, but your heart as well. Alcohol also contains calories that contributes to an unhealthy diet.

  6. Eat lots of Fibre – get plenty of fibre in your diet (about 30g a day)You can get fibre in wholewheat bread, oats and wholegrain cereals and of course, fruit and veg.

  7. Reduce Saturated Fat – choose leaner meat cuts and less fatty dairy products to keep your blood-cholesterol level low. High saturated fats increase your risk of heart disease.

  8. Eat Fish – fish are a source of omega-3 fats and oils and can help to protect against heart disease. Sardines, salmon, pilchards and one portion of oily fish are recommended to eat about twice a week.

  9. Reduce Salt intake – watch for high-salt levels in ready-made meals. Adults should eat a maximum of 6g of salt a day (roughly 1 teaspoon). Try lessen the salt in your cooking and avoid using salt to season food. This will help to maintain a good blood pressure.

  10. Manage Your Stress – look out for signs of stress, try to identify the causes and review your lifestyle and coping mechanisms. Getting enough sleep, time to relax and unwind will keep stress to a minimum.

First Aid for Heart Attacks

You may find yourself in a situation where you or someone else needs to administer first aid for someone who is having a heart attack. Every minute is crucial – would you know what to do? If you answered no, we can help!

Symptoms of a heart attack are less visible in women and often present as a chest ache, heartburn or un uncomfortable feeling in the jaw, back, neck or shoulder. For men it may be a chest pain or numbness in the left arm and shoulder.

The first act would be to sit the person down and call an ambulance immediately. If there is no pulse and the heart has stopped beating, start CPR. If there is a defibrillator nearby use it as soon as possible.

Using a Defibrillator

Defibs (also called Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs) are becoming more available in workplaces and the community (public access). With so many more AED’s available, it’s a great idea for everyone to know how to use a defibrillator. AEDs have voice prompts that are easy to follow and basically all one needs to do is listen to what it says and it will do the rest. When seconds count, AEDs are vital for all medical emergencies, especially ones that are heart related.

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