Heart health: fill your heart with love this Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day show your partner you care by taking care of their heart.

Although delicious, the calorific chocolates and treats we splash out on every year are not doing so much good for our hearts. Sweet treats can contribute to the build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries and increase the risk of blood clots. These are all a variation of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a condition which affects the heart or blood vessels.

CVD can cause painful conditions such as angina, where the blood supply to the muscles of the heart is restricted causing a discomforting chest pain or even lead to heart attacks.

In the UK alone, 7.4 million people are living with heart and circulatory diseases. Causing nearly 170,000 deaths each year, with an average of 460 people dying each day.

To help prevent CVD, you should:

  • Get regular exercise
  • Have a healthy, balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce your consumption of alcohol
  • Try to manage your stress levels

Other risk factors include:

  • Age – CVD is most common in people over 50
  • Gender – men are more likely to develop CVD at an earlier age than women
  • Family history of CVD
  • Ethnic background – south Asian, African or Caribbean background are at higher risk
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health – stress can have an impact on your blood pressure and heart rate causing CVD