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Keeping Your Heart Healthy

NOW there are a couple of organs in the body that you can live without, but the heart is not one of them. Without it, you’re dead! So it is best to know how to recognise heart disease and what you can do to avoid it. Heart disease is the collective for a whole range of conditions that affect your heart and cardiovascular system and is essentially divided into two main categories. One group of conditions affects the heart itself such as muscles of the heart, its rhythm and its valves – like irregular heartbeats. The other refers to the conditions that occur in the blood vessels, capillaries and veins as a result of them narrowing or becoming blocked causing chest pain, heart attacks and stroke.

In most cases, heart disease can usually be treated with diet and lifestyle changes and can be prevented all together. Now depending on which condition you have will depend a lot on the symptoms you might experience. Shortness of breath; numbness, tingling or coldness in your limbs, pains in your chest, jaw, throat, back and upper abdomen are signs associated with the narrowing of blood vessels. Chest pain and shortness of breath are also associated with irregular heartbeats, as are feelings that your heart is beating way too fast or beating too slow, or even just fluttering.

As irregular heartbeats affect the amount of blood travelling around the body and to your brain, you also may feel light headed or dizzy. These symptoms are also experienced with weak heart muscles, however you may also experience swelling in your legs and feet. Heart disease is easily preventable and treatable when it is detected early. As with many medical conditions, burying your head in the sand, knowing you are experiencing these symptoms and doing nothing about them, can be fatal. Heart disease is usually an associated condition along with other western world medical conditions.

A poor diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking, excessive use of alcohol and caffeine, and the overuse of medications including those prescribed, over the counter medications and/or health supplementations have all been linked to heart disease. Having high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, Diabetes Type 2, and poor dental health also have shown to contribute to heart disease. Prevention is said to be better than cure – so it is never too late to correct your diet and lifestyle choices. If you want your ticker to keep ticking, back off on the processed foods and sugars, and cut out all the drinking of alcohol and smoking.

Do regular huffy puffy exercise – or least move on a regular basis. Incorporate lean meats, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes and grains. In particular, include foods which are high in taurine as this amino acid is excellent in helping the heart and controlling blood sugar. Seafood like mackerel, tuna, prawns and squid as well as shellfish like mussels, clams, and oysters are fabulously high in taurine. Remember you are what you eat, so a good diet will give you good health.

As with most health conditions, heart disease in most cases, is preventable and treatable. Don’t wait until it’s too late.