Many of us will be taking part in the tradition of Valentine’s Day and giving our hearts away, but have you made sure that the heart you’re giving is a healthy one?
NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) want local residents to have a serious think about our hearts this Valentine’s Day because keeping your heart healthy is one of the most important thing you can do, whatever your age.
Eating a healthy balanced diet, being more physically active, reducing alcohol and giving up smoking, are just some of the steps to take to keep your heart healthy.
Professor Umesh Chauhan, a GP lead at the CCGs, said:
“Anyone of any age can take steps to keep their heart healthy. You don’t have to take massive steps like joining a gym or drastically changing your meals, but make little changes. Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, or even try new ones, cut down on sugary drinks and drink a little less alcohol, go a street further than you usually would when you’re taking the dog for a walk or leave the car at home if it’s a short journey.
“Keeping an eye on your weight and trying to manage your stress levels will also go a long way to help prevent heart disease. Our hearts are the most important muscle in our bodies, so we should all take steps to make sure we keep it going for as long as possible.”
You can find out your heart age and steps to keep your heart healthy online at: https://www.nhs.uk/tools/pages/heartage.aspx
There are certain symptoms you should watch out for too. Chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness could be signs that something may not be right with your heart. These symptoms along with noticeable palpitations, where your heart feels like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, could be signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AF).
It’s estimated that nearly 2.46% of people in East Lancashire and 2.04% in Blackburn with Darwen could have AF, but might not know it. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, call NHS111 free for more advice.
Most chest pain isn’t a sign of anything serious but you should get medical advice just in case. Get immediate medical help if you think you’re having a heart attack.
Call 999 if you have sudden chest pain that:
• spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
• makes your chest feel tight or heavy
• also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or being sick
• lasts more than 15 minutes
You could be having a heart attack. Call 999 immediately as you need immediate treatment in hospital.