AS we mourn the loss of one of Australia’s cricketing greats, Shane Warne, it has forced one of Australia’s deadliest chronic health conditions into the limelight – cardiovascular disease.
Evidence suggests that 48 Australians die of heart disease every day.
However, if investigated in the early stages then we hold the power to act now to prevent and treat this devastating disease.
More than two thirds of all Australians have risk factors for heart disease, but many don’t understand the effect each of them can have on their heart. Common risk factors include smoking, being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol, increasing age as well as a family history.
Whether or not you have one, none or five of these identifiable risk factors, if eligible, you can get your heart health checked today at your local general practice.
The ‘Heart Health Check’ is a government funded initiative which, in conjunction with the Heart Foundation, aims to check your chances of developing heart disease within the next five years.
Heart disease, if left unchecked, has the potential to result in a heart attack or stroke.
The ‘Heart Health Check’ is a simple process that will normally take around twenty minutes to complete.
There is no exercise test or invasive procedure and it can be undertaken once a every 12 months.
The process involves questions about risk factors and family history, blood tests to check cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as a blood pressure test.
If the results find an increased likelihood of heart disease, a follow up discussion involving lifestyle changes and/ or medication will be carried out.
Other than a ‘Heart Health Check’, there are lots of preventative activities that you can do in your own home to en- sure your heart is as healthy as possible. Examples include improving your nutrition, ensuring you do regular exercise, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake as well as other activities linked to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.
Joining community groups like ‘ParkRun’ on Saturday mornings or sign- ing up for a new class at the gym, not only improve fitness and health levels but also are great social outlets.
If you are aged 45 and above (or aged 30 and over and identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander), you may be eligible for this Medicare funded ‘Heart Health Check’.
Have you ever wondered about you or your loved one’s heart health?
Don’t delay in getting your heart health checked today.
Written by Deborah Hawthorne, GP pharmacist at South Wangaratta Medical Centre
Article published by Wangaratta Chronicle