Think Valentine's Day… think healthy hearts

Hearts have long been the traditional logo of Valentine's Day, but it is also a timely reminder for us to think about how important it is to have a healthy heart.

Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) want us to use this Valentine's Day as a reminder to think about our hearts and how we can keep them healthy.

David Evans, Chief Officer from the CCG said: "Our hearts are the most important muscle in our bodies and a vital organ, so we should all take steps to make sure we keep it going for as long as possible.

“We know that across our Borough there are people who are suffering from heart failure and many other people may be living with atrial fibrillation (AF) without knowing it. We want to help raise awareness of the symptoms so that people can get help early on.”

The main symptoms of heart failure are:

  • breathlessness after activity or at rest
  • feeling tired most of the time and finding exercise exhausting
  • swollen ankles and legs

Some people also experience other symptoms, such as a persistent cough, a fast heart rate, and dizziness.

Symptoms can develop quickly (acute heart failure) or gradually over weeks or months (chronic heart failure).

In the case of atrial fibrillation (AF):

This is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate of considerably more than 100 beats per minute while resting (the normal heart rate should be between 60 and 100).

This can cause problems including dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness.  You may be aware of noticeable heart palpitations, where your heart feels like it's pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for a few seconds or, in some cases, a few minutes.

However, sometimes atrial fibrillation doesn't cause any symptoms and you could be completely unaware that your heart rate isn't regular.

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, then call NHS 111 for more advice. Or visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk

David added:  “As part of our Take Care Telford initiative, we are encouraging our local residents to think about their heart.  Anyone of any age can take steps to keep their heart healthy.  A balanced diet, less alcohol, a little more exercise, watching your weight and managing stress all go a long way to help prevent heart disease.  Let’s make February the month when we become heart health aware.”