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Your heart is amazing, even though it’s only the size of your fist. Your heart has been working hard for you ever since it first started beating. It’s important that you look after your heart for a happy and healthy life.
Every day your heart:
- beats 100,000 times
- pumps 7,200 litres of blood around your body – that’s the same as 3600 plastic bottles of milk or enough to fill a paddling pool
- pumps blood over 19,000km – that’s the same as flying from London to Hong Kong, and back
So by the time you are 70 years old, your heart will beat at least two and a half billion times. Just imagine if you were paid £1 for every beat – think of all that money your heart would have earnt.
Heart at work
Every day your heart is working hard to pump oxygen all around your body to your muscles and organs, but, your heart is a muscle too and to do this amazing job it needs oxygen. Your heart has special arteries, called the 'coronary arteries', that take oxygen to every part of the heart muscle so it can pump efficiently. These arteries are tiny, as thin as a drinking straw on a little carton of fruit juice.
Sadly, they can get blocked up as you get older and cause problems like heart disease and heart attacks. Plaque builds up slowly inside the artery over time. It’s a bit like the plaque on your teeth but made up of cholesterol. At first you just have a little bit but then it can get thicker and harder which can make it difficult for blood to flow smoothly.
The good news is that heart disease can be prevented; you can choose to make small changes to your lifestyle that will help to prevent you from getting this plaque in your arteries and getting heart disease and so help you to live longer. It’s very simple; look after your heart by eating healthily exercising daily and not smoking.