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Heart disease: your questions answered

Heart disease is responsible for thousands of deaths each and every year. It’s estimated by the NHS that 82,000 people die from the condition every single year, making it one of the UK’s biggest killers.

Unfortunately, the symptoms aren’t easily recognisable, so it helps to know as much about this condition as possible. It’s worth pointing out that there are different types of heart disease, so the symptoms may vary slightly between each one.

Below you’ll find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about heart disease.

What causes coronary heart disease?

You develop coronary heart disease when the blood supply to the heart is blocked. It’s usually a build-up of a fatty substance that causes the problem. Lifestyle choices contribute towards this and common culprits are a high fat diet, little exercise, high cholesterol and smoking.

What are the symptoms?

The unfortunate thing about heart disease is the fact you don’t always know if you have it. Some of the symptoms you might experience are: chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath and palpitations. This is why it’s sometimes confused with indigestion.

If your symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks you should book an appointment with your GP.

At what age does heart disease become a risk?

There’s a myth that heart disease only affects middle aged men, but it is just as big a threat for women. It does tend to affect more men than women, but once you reach 50 years of age, the risk evens out for both sexes.

How is heart disease diagnosed?

You’ll need to visit your GP to see if you have an increased risk of the condition. If they think you fall into this category then a number of tests may be carried out. These include an X-ray, electrocardiogram, CT scan, coronary angiography and an MRI scan. The results of these can show whether you have heart disease of any kind.

Is it curable?

Heart disease is currently incurable but there are ways you can reduce your risk of suffering from heart attacks and other problems associated with the condition. Lifestyle changes, to try and build up a healthy heart, are just one of them.

What can happen if it isn’t treated?

If heart disease isn’t treated then it can lead to a heart attack and in severe cases, death.

How can I lower my chances of developing heart disease?

There are a few ways you can lower your risk of developing the condition such as giving up smoking, exercising more regularly and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels through your diet.

Sources:

http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Coronary-heart-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx 
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-symptoms

 

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