National Heart Week starts today, and gives The Heart Foundation the chance to shine a light on to one of our most important organs.
Our heart health is vital. Our heart acts like a pump, pushing blood all over our body providing all of our muscles with oxygen and nourishment. When our heart can’t function the way it should, there may be some health complications, and these issues usually arise later in life – but can still occur when someone is young.
There are numerous different kinds of heart conditions that someone could be diagnosed with, including:
- Arrhythmias: abnormal heart rhythm
- Coronary heart disease: this occurs when your coronary arteries become narrow (constrict) and affect the flow of blood to the heart. This can cause angina or a heart attack to occur
- Heart failure
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Stroke: there are two types of stroke, one being ischaemic stroke which occurs when an artery providing blood to the brain is blocked, and a hemorrhagic stroke which occurs when a bleed occurs in the brain
So, how can I take care of my heart?
- Cut back on, or quit smoking
- Control your blood cholesterol
- Manage your diabetes and blood pressure
- Become physically active and maintain a healthy weight
- Eat and enjoy a wide variety of healthy and nutritious foods
- Reduce salt intake
- Take care of your mental health
What should I do if someone around me experiences chest pain?
The advice is to call an ambulance immediately. If someone experiences chest pain, it’s better to be on the safe side and call emergency services. This kind of pain can include feelings of pressure, tightness, and aching, and if someone experiences this alongside lightheadedness, shortness of breath, fatigue and more, you should tell the dispatcher on the phone when you dial 000.
How can I recognize a stroke?
F: has their face drooped?
A: can they lift both of their arms?
S: is their speech impaired or slurred, and can they understand what you say?
T: Time. Call 000 as soon as possible.
Those suffering a stroke may also experience weakness in certain body parts, dizziness and the loss of balance, vision impairments, a headache, or trouble swallowing.
If you are looking for more information and resources about heart health, you can visit The Heart Foundation or contact their helpline on 13 11 12. Additionally, you can speak to your general practitioner/doctor about any questions you may have.
Factsheet produced by Clare, Youth Advocate