Take Care of Your Heart This Valentine’s Day!

National Heart Month is happening all throughout February, and seeing as Valentine’s Day happens to fall this month we thought it only fitting to highlight the ins and outs of heart disease.

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is a very serious illness and is Ireland’s number one killer according to the Irish Heart Foundation.

What can lead to an unhealthy heart?

There are a lot of different types of heart disease caused by a lot of different issues. However, a healthy heart is a strong heart so some of the things which may cause your heart to become unhealthy and lead to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) are:

  • Smoking

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood cholesterol level

  • Not exercising regularly

  • Having diabetes (NHS)

What are the stats?

  • The Irish Heart Foundation states that “Approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease – including coronary heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases.”

  • ⅓ of deaths in Ireland is caused by heart disease.

  • Heart disease is responsible for ⅕ of premature deaths in Ireland.

Photo by  Jamie Street  on  Unsplash .

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

Symptoms to look out for

We can often brush things off, or mistake things for what they actually are when it comes to our bodies. While not every little thing that may feel off with your health will be serious, it’s always good to have some awareness around symptoms that may be indicating something more. Some symptoms recorded by the BHF include:

  • Chest Pain

  • Feeling sick

  • Stomach pain

  • Feeling sweaty

  • Leg pain

  • Arm pain

  • Jaw or back pain

  • Choking sensation

  • Swollen ankles

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Irregular heartbeat  

Prevention

As with most things, prevention is better than cure. There are steps you can take in your everyday life to improve you and your family's heart health!

  1. Get Exercising

People who don’t exercise regularly (30 mins for most days of the week is recommended) are more likely to get, and die from, heart disease. Get the whole family out for a run around the garden, a walk around the local park, a bike ride, or swim! You’re being healthy and getting in some family bonding time!

     2. Don’t smoke

Smoking and using tobacco products lead to a number of health issues. If you or a family member are struggling to quit, click here for a range of supports.

    3. Implement a heart healthy diet!

Eating healthier food is a great way to prevent a world of illnesses, especially heart disease. The biggest reduction you should make in your diet is salt intake. Adding oily fish to your diet twice a week is also a great idea! The Irish Heart Foundation have a list of great recipes for you to try for a healthy heart!

How can I help?

There are a lot of supports in place for those who need them when it comes to heart disease. You can help out by getting involved in some of the amazing events held by the Irish Heart Foundation. This Valentine’s Day an event to “Organise the Perfect Match” is taking place, you can register here. If that doesn’t take your fancy, you can see ways to give here.