An average healthy heart beats 100,000 times a day and is about the size of your clenched fist. As an engine keeps a car running, your heart keeps your body going. Besides pumping blood throughout the body, it controls heart rate and maintains blood pressure.
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle does not pump blood efficiently and this affects all major body functions.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged mucus
- Very rapid weight gain from fluid buildup
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Chest pain
Globally, heart diseases are the leading cause of death.
In 2019, 17.9 million people were estimated to have died from Cardiovascular Disorders (CVDs), accounting for 32% of deaths worldwide.
The heart needs your support too
Like any other muscle, the heart weakens over time, especially if one is not physically active. As you age and become less active, the muscle in the heart’s left ventricle (the chamber that pumps blood back out to the body) becomes stiffer. People aged 65 and older are much more likely than younger people to suffer from heart failure, a stroke, or develop heart disease.
Show your heart love
Ageing may increase a person’s risk of heart disease, but the good news is there are things one can do to lower or possibly avoid the risk of heart disease.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
What we eat is one of the factors that help to lower the risk of heart disease. Choose whole grains, like oatmeal and whole-wheat bread, avoid sugary drinks, and get protein from seafood, lean meats, poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Stay active
Balancing the calories in the body by being physically active helps to maintain a healthy weight and prevent diseases. Exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, and running help to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and increase flexibility. Whatever you do, progress slowly to avoid injury.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
Every day, we hear how smoking and excessive alcohol consumption cause harm to the body, so it’s best to abstain from them. They increase the risk of many chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
- Regular medical checkups
Routine checkups and screenings increase the chance of receiving treatment quickly and diagnosing underlying medical conditions early.
Anyone can suffer from heart failure, so you must take lifelong precautions to protect your heart. Consult your doctor if you experience any sudden or unexplained symptoms that might indicate a heart problem.