Let's make sure our hearts are healthy this Valentine's Day

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This Valentine's Day, the NHS in Staffordshire want us to make sure our hearts are healthy.

Whatever our age, keeping our hearts in their best condition is one of the most important things we can do.  Eating a healthy, balanced diet, being more physically active, reducing alcohol and giving up smoking are all things we can do to keep our hearts thumping.

Dr Paddy Hannigan, GP in Staffordshire and Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group, said : "The smallest changes to our lifestyles could make a big difference.

"More fruit, vegetables, drinking a little less alcohol and taking a few more steps will help your heart.

"It's not about joining a gym or radically changing every part of your life, but maybe go one street further if you're walking the dog or park your car at the other end of the car park when you're out and about."

There are certain symptoms you should watch out for too:  

  • chest pains
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath 
  • tiredness.

These could be signs that something may not be right with your heart.  These symptoms along with noticeable palpitations, where your heart feels like it's pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, could be signs of Atrial fibrillation (AF).

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.

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.   

Sometimes atrial fibrillation does not cause any symptoms and a person who has it is completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.

Find out more about AF on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atrial-fibrillation/

Download the NHS' 'How Healthy Is Your Heart' App to test your heart age.

If you have chest pain that comes and goes or that goes away quickly but you're still worried, call 111 or your GP surgery for advice.

Call 999 if you have sudden chest pain that:

  • spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
  • makes your chest feel tight or heavy
  • also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or being sick
  • lasts more than 15 minutes.

You could be having a heart attack. Call 999 immediately as you need immediate treatment in hospital.