According to the British Heart Foundation, one person in the UK dies from coronary heart disease (CHD) every eight minutes.
Here, we tackle the facts behind the statistics with a guide to the most common heart and cardiovascular conditions along with advice on what you can do to help yourself avoid heart problems at any age.
In the UK, there are around 7.4 million people living with heart and circulatory disease - 3.9 million men and 3.5 million women.
As we age, our risk of developing heart disease rises due to lifestyle factors and family history which can cause plaque to build up in our arteries.
Heart conditions that develop over time, like CHD, tend to be rare in people in their 20s and 30s.
However, some young people may have inherited heart conditions that they aren’t even aware of.
In some cases, these conditions could lead to heart failure or a cardiac arrest, which is when your heart stops pumping blood around your body.
Genetic testing and screening are used to recognise any problems so the conditions can be treated and monitored. But, even if you’re under the age of 35 and haven’t been diagnosed with a heart condition, changing your lifestyle now could help to stop heart disease developing in your later years.
As you enter your 40s, your chances of developing heart disease increase but are still fairly low. But that doesn’t mean you can be careless when it comes to heart health.
Recent studies suggest that high cholesterol levels in adults over the age of 35 could have a lasting impact on their heart. Help prevent heart disease by taking these steps:
The risk of developing conditions like coronary heart disease rises considerably after the age of 45. After the menopause, women have an increased risk of getting heart disease. As you get older, learning to pay attention to your body plays an even more important role in your heart health.
Over the age of 60, heart diseases and related conditions like strokes become more common often due to lifestyle choices such as smoking and a lack of exercise. But you still have the chance to lower the risk of developing heart problems or manage any existing heart conditions:
Developing heart problems gets more likely as we get older, but it’s important to remember that they can happen at any age. No matter your stage of life, it’s never too late or too early to look after your heart by making the right diet and lifestyle choices.