Unless you are a Time Lord or you suffer from a very rare genetic mutation, you only have one heart, and that means if you want it to last your entire lifetime without giving up on you, you need to take care of it. Your heart doesn't get nights off, like parts of your brain. It doesn't have a partner, like your lungs and kidneys. It can't nap in the afternoons, like your digestive system. Your heart has to start working before you're even born and then keep on keeping on for the best part of a century without a single meaningful break.
Certain external environmental factors like growing up in the house with a smoker or living downwind from a cement factory can really damage your heart. You might also be unfortunate in your parentage. However, most of your heart health is within your control, meaning that your choices really matter - and the worse your genes or environment, the more crucial it becomes that you do your best to alleviate the unfair hand you have been dealt by both nature and nurture. You don't have to be a varsity sports-playing vegan with hours of time and lots of money to lavish on yourself, either: you just have to make a few small tweaks for large results. So let's see how well you know the basics of what a healthy heart looks like so you know what direction to point yourself. Good luck!
What is "good cholesterol"?
HDL cholesterol is good for you because it carries the bad LDL cholesterol back to the liver from other places in the body, so that it can be processed.
What is a healthy adult heart rate in beats per minute?
Under 50 bpm
Over 100 bpm
This depends on a lot of factors like how big you are, but generally speaking you want to be between 60-100 bpm. If you're very fit, you might be between 45-60 though, as your heart gets stronger and does not need to work as hard.
Blood pressure is how fast your blood is going and with how much force - that is, if it's too low, maybe you haven't got enough blood (literally), but more likely it means it's not being pumped with enough force. If it is too high, you might have blockages or inelastic blood vessels.
A whooshing sound between beats is called a heart murmur. It can be totally benign or incredibly serious. If you have one and it doesn't go away, please, get yourself checked out. It might be nothing, but wouldn't you rather know?
A stent is a little tube that goes in a large blood vessel that has ruptured or narrowed. It used to be very serious having one put in, and while it is no picnic now, it's not nearly as terrifying as it was.
Brain damage due to suddenly limited blood supply to the brain
If your blood supply to your brain is disrupted, you can have a stroke. This might happen for many reasons. A stroke is also called a brain attack, as it is characterized by brain tissue dying. It's very important to be treated within an hour to save the brain tissue.
A blockage in a blood vessel in the brain
Bleeding in the brain
When your heart attack is so bad it damages your brain
What day of the year has the highest number of heart attacks?
Christmas Day is when people eat and drink far more than is good for them while pretending to like all of their relatives (invariably including one who they frankly don't). The combination of indulgence and stress can kill!
It's true! Serious stress or sadness can cause your heart to give up. Chemicals like the stress hormone cortisol are incredibly bad for your heart's function. Your heart is so connected to your mind that after genetics and diet/exercise, your best protection against heart trouble is an active social life, ideally including a happy marriage.