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Ten things you never knew about….hearts.

heart

  1. Aristotle believed that the heart was the source of intelligence and the brain only cooled the blood.
  2. An octopus has three hearts, two to pump the blood through the gills, and one to pump it round the body.
  1. The average human heart beats around 100,000 times a day and pumps over 2,000gallons of blood.
  2. 200 years ago in 1816 René` Laennec invented the stethoscope to hear heartbeats as he thought it improper to place his ear to a woman’s chest.
  3. The heart of a blue whale can weigh over 1,500lb.
  4. A human heart is about the size of two hands clasped together and weighs 11 ounces.
  5. Woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s by about eight beats a minute.
  6. William Harvey announced his discovery that the heart circulates blood around the body in 1616, 400 years ago.
  7. Before that it was generally believed that the heart constantly produced new blood.
  8. The King of Hearts is the only king in a deck of cards without a moustache. He is thought to have been modelled on Charlemagne.

 

Thanks to Steven for this article.

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Diabetes

img-diabetesDiabetes causes high levels of glucose in your blood.  This can affect the walls of your arteries, and make them more likely to develop fatty deposits (atheroma).

If atheroma builds up in your coronary arteries (the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart) you will develop coronary heart disease, which can cause heart attack and angina.

Types of diabetes

Type one diabetes happens when your body cannot make insulin. This type usually affects children and young adults.

Type two diabetes occurs when your body can’t produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t work properly. Type two diabetes is more common and tends to develop gradually as people get older – usually after the age of 40.

It’s closely linked with:

  • being overweight
  • being physically inactive
  • a family history of diabetes.

Some ethnic groups have a much higher rate of diabetes – particularly people of African Caribbean and South Asian origin.

What can I do to reduce my risk of developing diabetes?

You can greatly reduce your risk of developing Type two diabetes by controlling your weight and doing regular physical activity.

The great news is that doing these things will also make you less likely to develop other cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke – as well as being great for your general mental and physical wellbeing.

How can I protect my heart if I already have diabetes?

If you have diabetes, it’s very important to make sure that you control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels to help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.

To do this you can:

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may also need to take  a cholesterol-lowering medicine such as statins to help protect your heart.

Aspirin

asprinHaving been diagnosed with a heart problem you are quite likely to be on 75mg aspirin. Aspirin is a drug that `thins` the blood a little. This means you are less likely to have clots forming in the arteries of the heart where it can cause harm. It is very important that aspirin is taken as directed.

  • It is usually taken in the morning. If you have the dissolvable tablets you must dissolve them before taking them. If they are not fully dissolved it can irritate the lining of the stomach and cause bleeding.
  • Take the aspirin once you have eaten something as it will irritate an empty stomach and could cause bleeding or indigestion.
  • You may notice that you bleed more if you cut yourself, or bruise more easily.
  • Aspirin with an enteric coating is no better at protecting the stomach. Research shows it too can also irritate the stomach if it does not dissolve fully.
  • Only take aspirin if you are prescribed it. Some people take it as a precautionary medicine but you should always consult your doctor before taking it.
  • If you do develop severe indigestion or notice that your stools are very dark, see your GP as soon as possible.
  • Aspirin is a highly effective drug but like all medicines it has to be taken properly to get the best effect.

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