There are a lot of different resources and information out there to help people keep their hearts healthy. We've created this page to make it easier to find the right information for you.
If you are over 30 years old, you can do a quick and easy heart age test to get your results and learn more about your heart age.
The test gives you an idea of what your heart age is compared to your real age. It has been produced for people over 30, and if the result is older than your real age, you are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. However, finding this out early is exactly how you can improve your heart age.
If you're aged between 40 and 74 years old with no pre-existing conditions, you can have an NHS Health Check. It is completely free and easy to sign up for.
The NHS Health Check has been designed to spot early signs of kidney disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia, or heart disease. As we get older, we are at higher risk of developing one of these conditions, so early detecting can help with prevention.
The check involves easy questions about your health and some simple tests conducted by a health professional. Most people will find that they are perfectly well, but a few people may find they need to make a few small lifestyle changes to ensure they stay healthy.
More than 1 in 4 UK adults have high blood pressure, although many do not realise as there are often no symptoms.
Having high blood pressure, if not treated, can put you at risk of heart attacks and strokes, so it's important to get it checked. You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- many local pharmacies - use your postcode here to find a pharmacy providing blood pressure tests
- taking your own blood pressure at home
- your local GP surgery
- some community health hubs
If you would like to monitor your blood pressure at home through purchasing your own blood pressure monitor, find out more about how to choose a monitor and information about what the numbers mean here. Pharmacists can also advise, or there is a list of validated monitors published that you can choose from to buy online.
For more information, including how to understand your reading, see here.
Risk factors of cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and cholesterol.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension affects more than one in four adults in England. High blood pressure is not typically something you can feel. However, you are more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a stroke if you have high blood pressure. In England, high blood pressure is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease related death and disability.
To find out if you have high blood pressure, you can have it measured for free at a NHS Health check.
You may also be able to have your blood pressure check at your GP practice or local pharmacy.
Atrial fibrillation (AF)
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an abnormality in the rhythm of the heart. It involves the upper chambers of the heart (atria) beating irregularly.
AF is the most common form problem with heartbeat rates (arrhythmia), affecting four out of every 100 people over 65. Some people may not feel any symptoms, while others feel palpitations, shortness of breath or chest pain.
AF can increase the risk of stroke by five times if untreated. The irregular heart rhythm can cause the blood to pool and clot in the heart chambers. If the clot is carried to the small blood vessels in the brain and blocks the blood flow, it can cause a stroke.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood. Cholesterol can come from the food we eat, however most of our cholesterol is produced naturally in the liver. Everyone needs some cholesterol to stay healthy, because every cell in our body uses it.
Having too much cholesterol, or high cholesterol, can clog up your arteries and increase your risk of heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Globally a third of heart disease is attributable to high cholesterol.
To have your cholesterol tested, attend a free NHS Health Check if you are aged 40 to 74, with no pre-existing conditions.
There are many ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure (hypertension) and a high or irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation). Why not take a look at these actions below and work on the ones appropriate to you?
Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked. Smoking increases the risk of developing heart diseases, including coronary heart disease and stroke.
If you are a smoker, stopping smoking is the most important step you can take to protect your heart's health. For more advice, find your nearest service on our Healthy Lifestyles map above.
Drinking alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, damage to your heart muscle and other diseases such as strokes, liver problems and some forms of cancer.
Alcohol is high in calories, which can lead to weight gain. It also lowers your inhibitions, which might mean you might find it harder to stick to your healthy eating plans when you have been drinking.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you cut down on alcohol or stop drinking altogether.
For information about your nearest Substance Misuse and Alcohol Service see our Healthy Lifestyles map above.
Further Information and Resources
Stress contributes to high blood pressure, which is also a risk factor for heart attack and strokes. Some people may attempt to cope with stress by using risky behaviours, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol or overeating, which all increase your risk of heart disease.
While there is no evidence to suggest that stress causes coronary heart disease or heart attacks, if you have an existing coronary heart disease or experience feelings of anxiety or stress, it may bring on symptoms like angina.
Spotting the early signs of stress can also help you to manage your stress levels, preventing them from becoming worse and potentially causing serious complications, such as high blood pressure.
There are a number of mental health providers available in Hampshire Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight. that can provide support to help you manage stress more effectively.
For further information select or search mental health within the following community directories:
Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Aim to eat no more than six grams of salt a day. Most of the salt we consume is already in food. Things such as condiments, sauces, processed meats, snacks and cereals can contain lots of salt.
Choosing low salt alternatives and cooking with pepper, herbs, spices and chilli rather than salt are also great ways to reduce the amount that you consume.
Research shows that being overweight can raise blood cholesterol levels, increase blood pressure and increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Even if you don't have any of these conditions, it is important to maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk of developing them in the future.
For further information on your nearest weight management service see our Healthy Lifestyles map above.
People who are active regularly are less likely to develop many chronic diseases, such as health disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
For further information and activities near you: