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Your heart has many different functions and is vital for keeping you alive and there is no magic age to start to think about your heart

IntroductionWhat increases my risk of cardiovascular diseasePreventing CVDTalking Cafés


Around 82,000 people are living with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in the area of Somerset.

CVD is an umbrella term for conditions that affect your heart such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Conditions can be inherited or something you are born with however some develop later in life such as coronary heart disease.

What increases my risk of cardiovascular disease

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Family History of CVD
  • Ethnic background
  • Your age

Preventing CVD

There are many lifestyle changes which you can put in place to reduce your risk of CVD:

Eat more fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are the best source of potassium in the diet which helps lower blood pressure. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Don’t forget that frozen, canned and dried varieties count too.

Be active

Aim for half an hour of physical activity on five days of the week. The activity needs to make you breathe faster and warm you up.

Eat less salt

It is recommended that an adult eats less than 6g of salt a day.

Over 75% of the salt we eat is already “hidden” in foods, so it is a good idea to check your food labels for salt content. If you add salt to your food, try to limit this or see where you can cut it out completely.

Limit alcohol

It is recommended to not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.

Lose weight if you need to

If you lose any excess weight, you will probably find your blood pressure reduces.

Stop smoking

If you quit smoking, your risk of a heart attack is half that of a smoker after 1 year.

Cut back on caffeine

Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure. Try switching to caffeine-free options or reducing the number of cups per day.

For more information on heart and circulatory diseases visit the NHS website.

For statistics relating to heart and circulatory diseases visit Somerset Intelligence.

Talking Cafés

Talking Cafés are great support if you are looking for help and advice on important services such as:

  • caring for another
  • housing
  • health
  • finance
  • food boxes
  • adult social care
  • children’s services
  • feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • anything that is worrying – exactly the things putting up a lot of blood pressure for us all at the moment.

For more information visit Talking Cafes.

Last reviewed: January 24, 2024 by John-Mark

Next review due: July 24, 2024

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