Your heart beats around 100,000 times a day, pumping blood around your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients, while taking away waste products.

When your heart is unhealthy, it can’t perform this vital task so effectively. This can cause significant health problems- cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK and an estimated 17 million people die of cardiovascular disease each year worldwide.

Heart disease is something that touches many lives, but can be difficult to understand.

An introduction to heart health

This four-week course aims to improve your knowledge of how the heart works, the effects of heart disease and what you can do to avoid it. We’ll explore the anatomy of the heart, explaining how the circulatory system works and what it does.

We’ll then introduce some of the most common cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure. We’ll help you understand their effects on the body, why they happen and what can be done to prevent them.

In the final week, we’ll examine the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and what you can do keep your heart healthy.

Hands-on exercises to understand your own heart

Each week you’ll have the opportunity to get hands on and do a practical activity, helping you to apply the knowledge you’ll gain on the course, to better understand your own heart.

You can find out more about these activities in Natasha Barrett’s post for the FutureLearn blog: A heart in your hands.

Click here to access the course.