Is your heart feeling your age?

National Heart Week is 3-9 May 2021.

An Australian has a heart attack or stroke every four minutes… and cardiovascular disease accounts for more than a quarter deaths and over 1,600 hospitalisations in Australia every day!

These are very scary statistics. There has never been a more important time to prioritise heart health.

Approximately 2.5 million Australians are officially classified as having a high risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next five years and over half of these people will not have had a previous heart issue. Yet heart disease (including heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease) is largely preventable.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have postponed or ignored a wide range of health issues, including emergency treatment of acute conditions as well as routine check-ups like Heart Health Checks. Now that we are past the worst of the lockdowns, the pressure on our health system has eased and the family and economic impacts of COVID-19 are receding, we believe it is time for everybody to refocus their attention on the prevention and management of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. A great place to start with heart health is understanding your risk of developing heart disease and keeping up with regular check-ups. Given its importance, heart health should be part of your routine care provided by your doctor.

Ochre Health and the Heart Foundation recommend talking to your doctor about your risk of heart disease and also your eligibility for a Heart Health Check. This is a 20 minute consultation with your doctor to develop a comprehensive cardiovascular disease risk assessment and also a plan for ongoing heart health management. During the consultation, your doctor will:

  • Collect information to identify your risk factors (such as your diabetes status, alcohol intake, smoking status, cholesterol status and family history)
  • Conduct a physical examination, including measuring you blood pressure
  • Take actions to address any modifiable risk factors, potentially including prescribing medications to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Develop a plan with you for the ongoing assessment and management of your risk of heart disease
  • Give you preventative health care advice and information, including ideas on how you could change lifestyle factors like exercise and diet

Before you see your doctor, you can also do your own quick self-assessment of the health of your heart using the Heart Foundation’s Heart Age Calculator – MyHeartAge.org. If your result shows your heart is “feeling your age”… or worse… we recommend booking an appointment with your doctor today!

 

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