A heart is basically a specialised muscle that contracts ("systole") and relaxes ("diastole") automatically and regularly at a basic rate known as the "resting pulse rate"
It receives blood from the veins of the body and pumps oxygenated blood from the lungs through the arteries to every organ in the body. the basic heart rate ("pulse") will increase automatically in response to increased demand such as exercise.
The heart's own blood supply is through two coronary arteries, 3-4 mm in diameter. If disease - "arteriosclerosis" narrows these arteries, starving the heart of oxygen, a "vice-like" chest pain called Angina occurs.
Angina disappears with rest but if the pain is sudden, severe, does not go and is accompanied by breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, and a clammy, pale skin, a heart attack ("myocardial infarction" - MI) due to a blockage of an artery may have occurred. Heart attack is the biggest single killer of man and if suspected, emergency treatment (999) is required. If survived, the heart may be permanently damaged and unable to cope with every day tasks.
The best way to avoid problems that lead to blockage of the coronary arteries is to cut out the risk factors by:
If you have a family history of premature heart disease, get regular check-ups to ensure problems are not already developing.