Find out all about the different aspects of heart health, as well as the diet, lifestyle tweaks and supplements that can keep you in top condition. With expert advice from Dr. Hilary Jones.
"Many of us don't think about our heart and cardiovascular system until something goes wrong. This is a shame, as there is so much you can do to look after your heart health and so reduce the risk of problems like heart attacks or stroke."
Dr Hilary Jones, GP, Media Doctor and Author
Heart health advice from Dr Hilary Jones
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your blood. It's essential for building cell membranes and hormones. However, high levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol can build up in your arteries, causing them to harden and fur, and increasing the risk of heart disease.
Too much cholesterol leads to a build-up of fatty substances in the circulation, narrowing arteries and reducing the oxygen supply to vital organs such as the heart.
Proper circulation is key for maintaining optimal heart health, ensuring blood and oxygen continuously flow through the heart and throughout your body.
Poor circulation can lead to lack of energy, cold extremities (hands and feet) and delayed or slow healing. It can also result in swollen and heavy legs in periods of warm weather.
A dependable circulation transports oxygen and nutrients around the body, removes waste and toxins and protects against disease, inflammation and infection. So healthy blood cells, blood vessels and a strong heart are essential.
1 in 4 adults in the UK has high blood pressure (hypertension). Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia, while low blood pressure (hypotension) can lead to symptoms such as lightheadedness, weakness, fainting, blurred vision and feeling sick.
Blood pressure support
25% of UK adults have high blood pressure, putting them at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. They may have no symptoms until it's too late, and even when diagnosed, treatment can have side-effects.
Blood pressure advice
Fatigue is a common side effect of poor heart health, especially if you have had heart problems in the past. If you suffer from extreme tiredness, it could be a sign you have a heart condition.
Millions of people today are restricted by constant fatigue and low energy levels.
In the absence of any medical explanation, this can be helped by supplements containing three great energy boosters. These are coenzyme Q10, aka 'nature's spark plug' (with protective antioxidant effects on the brain heart and muscles), ubiquinol and B group vitamins.
The heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, exercise can strengthen it. Nutrients such as vitamin D and magnesium are also important for heart health; vitamin D helps maintain muscles, while magnesium supports the nervous system that keeps the heartbeat regular.
Heart muscle support
Low vitamin D is associated with muscle weakness and an increased risk of falls. Supplementation can maintain strong muscles, while magnesium is a calcium blocker that helps muscles relax after contraction to prevent spasms and cramps.
Magnesium can also help heart muscle contraction and regulate the neurotransmission that stabilises certain heart rhythm disorders.