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Heart Disease

Most of us may think that heart attacks affect only older people. But people in their twenties can get heart attacks too! Moreover, it makes good sense to take precautions when one is young, before the damage is done.

Symptoms Of A Heart Disease

Chest Pain

Not all chest pains are due to heart attack. In fact, in the majority of cases, the pain originates from the muscle or rib-bone. But a centrally-located, gripping chest pain should not be ignored. Pain from heart attack may also travel up the neck and jaw, or down the left arm.


Breathing difficulties during light exercise or even at rest may be a sign of heart failure. The breathlessness may get worse on lying flat on the back.


Palpitations are heart beats which a person is aware of. These are commonly due to excitement or fears, but may also be due to certain heart conditions.

Swollen Ankles

Ankle swelling (in both legs) is a common symptom of heart failure.

Angina And Heart Attack

Angina and myocardial infarction are two of the commoner heart diseases. Angina is chest pain due to lack of blood supply to the heart muscle. The blood supply to the heart muscle is so poor that the heart muscle may die. A myocardial infarction or heart attack is then said to have occurred. The heart attack victim experiences severe chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and sweatiness.

So what changes to our lifestyle should we make to help our heart tick strongly into old age? Remember the acronym REDS:

Relax - Learn to relax and cope with stress

Exercise - Exercise at least three times a week to increase your aerobic fitness.

Diet - Eat a balanced diet and cut down on your salt, sugar and fat intake.

Smoking - Don't smoke!

Is Your Heart At Risk?

To find out if you have a higher risk of getting heart disease, answer the questions below:

  • Do you exercise 3 times per week for at least 20 minutes?
  • Are you taking a healthy diet with less fat and more fibre?
  • Regular exercise and a healthier diet prevent the build-up of cholesterol in the blood vessels, lowering your risk of getting heart disease.
  • Are you a heavy smoker?
  • Are you always under stress? Do you have no time to relax?
  • Your risk of heart disease is increased if you smoke and if you are unable to cope with stress.
  • Have any of your close relatives had a heart attack before the age of 50?
  • Do you have a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes? Having a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes means that you are very likely to develop these diseases. You should have regular checks on your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels.
  • Do you know your blood pressure? If you have high-blood pressure (more than 140/90) or diabetes, are you being treated? You can lower your risk of getting a heart disease if you take your medications regularly and follow the advice given by your doctor closely.

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