Just like Roxette in 1988, listen to your heart this Heart Week!
For 60 years, the Heart Foundation has been helping improve heart health across Australia and are fighting the good fight against the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease.
From 28 April – 4 May is the Heart Foundations, Heart Week which focuses on the importance of having a heart health check. It is also an opportunity for both health professionals and the Australian public to start a much-needed conversation about heart health and the steps we can all take to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Let's start the conversation
A healthy heart is vital to our overall health and nearly everything that goes on in our body. With our hearts being made up of many parts working together to pump blood, a healthy heart means all these parts are working well together and as a result all the parts of our body which depend on our heart to deliver blood are also staying healthy.
Men, women, young, old – there is no discrimination and no pattern to whom it will affect next1. It is crucial to face the uncomfortable truth sooner rather than later and begin the conversation about heart health.
Knowing the risks and learning about the signs can be the difference between you or someone you love becoming a victim of Australia’s most prolific killer.
The uncomfortable truth
Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes and is one of Australia’s largest health problems2. According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is heart, stroke and blood vessel disease – affecting one in six Australians or 4.2 million. It has shockingly claimed the lives of 43, 477 Australians (nearly 30% of all deaths) in 2017 – deaths which are largely preventable3.
Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia. Alarmingly, 51 Australians died every day from heart disease in 2017, or heart disease was responsible for a death every 28 minutes. Heart disease is also a leading killer of Australian women – killing nearly three times as many women as breast cancer4.
Heart attack – it is estimated over 400,000 Australians have had a heart attack at some time in their lives. Each year, around 57,000 Australians suffer a heart attack, which equates to one heart attack every 10 minutes.
Steps to avoid a heart attack or stroke
Reading the statistics surrounding heart health in Australia is alarming to say the least. The most confronting is the fact that so many of the deaths related to heart disease could have been avoided had the victims known more about the risks, warning signs and steps to prevent it.
According to the Heart Foundation, close to three quarters (73 percent) of Australians aged 30 to 65 years reported having been told by their doctor they have at least one risk factor for heart disease5.
Here are some of the risk factors6:
- High blood pressure: in 2014/15, 6 million adult Australians aged 18 and over has high blood pressure.
- High cholesterol: in 2011/12, one – third of adult Australians aged 18 years and over had measured high cholesterol, representing 5.6 million adult Australians.
- Smoking is the single most important cause of ill health and death in Australia.
- Obesity or being overweight is a contributing risks factor
- Lack of exercise in your lifestyle
By understanding the risks, you can better take care of your heart. The Heart Foundation suggest a healthy lifestyle is key to a healthy ticker. Quit smoking, manage your blood cholesterol, manage your blood pressure, manage diabetes, be physically active, achieve and maintain a healthy weight for you, enjoy a variety of nutritious foods (limiting salt, reducing alcohol intake and replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats), and look after your mental health too. It is reported that there can be a greater risk of heart disease for people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have a good social support7.
ALI Group and Heart Health
Since 2003, ALI Group has paid close to $9 million in claims for heart attacks and over $1.3 million for Coronary bypass related claims. 80 claims, where the youngest was just early 30s.
This heart week, we will be joining in and supporting the Heart Foundation to bring this silent killer into the spotlight and raise awareness on how all Australians can make changes to their lifestyle to avoid becoming another victim of heart related deaths.
About Emma Flanagan
Emma is the Marketing and Communications executive at ALI Group. After completing a Bachelor of Communication with a Major in Journalism, Emma spent a couple of years living, travelling and working abroad before making her way home to Australia. Now, with firm roots back in her home town of the Central Coast in NSW, you will usually find her somewhere laughing with her family and friends, wining and dining with her Fiancé or by the ocean with her beloved, miniature dachshund, Lulu.
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