In the UK, heart disease claims the life of one adult every three minutes. In the United States, it is the number one cause of death with over 1 million dying each year. Millions more are walking around with heart disease unaware they even have it. A sad but very true fact.
Heart disease or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term which encompasses heart attacks, stroke and other heart related disorders (i.e. heart failure due to inadequate blood supply). A heart attack is when the coronary arteries become blocked. Blood flow is cut off and therefore, no oxygen or nutrients can get to it. The result is a heart attack. The main causes of blockages to the arteries is arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), atherosclerosis (fatty deposits) or where arterial walls become scarred and the cells sent to repair the damage build up to the extent where they themselves cause a blockage.
A poor diet and hypertension (otherwise known as high blood pressure) are also causative factors of heart disease with high blood pressure being the most common. Many people are walking time bombs unaware of the danger they face, because there are no tell, tell signs. High blood pressure tends to be discovered and diagnosed after a routine medical check up.
Hypertension is due to the decrease in elasticity of the interior diameter of the arteries. Causes include nutritional deficiencies, stress, arteriosclerosis or a sodium imbalance. Although not always the case, the people who are most at risk are those who smoke, are overweight or obese or have diabetes.
Your heart is your most important muscle and it's imperative you look after it. Your pulse rate determines the health of your heart. The 'average' pulse rate is between 60-100 bpm (beats per minute). Anything less than this determines how fit you are. The slower the heart beat, the fitter you are.
Just like any other muscle in your body, your hearts fitness levels will improve through proper nourishment and exercise. CV exercises in particular, increases the heart rate and strengthens it and the more you use it, the stronger it becomes and will serve you well for many, many years.
As the British Heart Foundation says, "Look after your heart".