Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in Australia and 90% of Australians have at least one risk factor. The 1st to the 7th of May is Heart Week so it’s the perfect time to look at how you can improve your heart health with four simple steps.
Over 17 million people each year die from cardiovascular disease.
The most common cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease (e.g. heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (e.g. stroke). Coronary heart disease is caused by the build-up of fatty material called plaque on the inside walls of coronary arteries. Plaque is mostly cholesterol.
The main risk factors include a family history of heart disease, but the risk also increases as you age. Gender is important because men are at greater risk of predisposing conditions.
Cardiovascular disease can be largely prevented by knowing and managing your risk factors and following the steps below.
Step One – Movement
Stay active! It’s important to keep moving no matter what your age or fitness level.
Exercise has many benefits including:
• Stimulating the body’s immune system (perfect for this time of year)
• Reducing the blood’s ability to clot easily
• Improved brain function (we all need this sometimes)
• Lowers blood pressure
Step Two – Eat Wisely
Good nutrition extends beyond controlling our intake of cholesterol, calories and chocolate. There is also great benefit in understanding the importance of trans fats (bad for you), and polyunsaturat-ed and monounsaturated fats (good for you). Or how the body metabolises different carbohydrates (sugars) and the impact this has on weight, diabetes and body fat deposits.
The Heart Foundation has some great recipe ideas.
Step Three – Know Your Risk
Keep track of your measurements and numbers including:
• Cholesterol Levels
• Blood Pressure
• Blood Glucose Levels
• Exercise Capacity
Step Four – Mentality
Stay optimistic! Keeping a good mind set is key to achieving your heart health goals as studies have shown our state of mind can protect or damage your heart health.
Important risk factors that may lead to heart disease include stress, anger and depression and these can be as damaging as high cholesterol levels in causing heart disease. Conversely, a posi-tive state of mind, a supportive community, and personal happiness may help reduce cardiovascu-lar problems.
Beyond Blue is great for information and support for mental wellbeing.
CLICK HERE To book in for a Cardiac Risk Assessment and find out more about your risk factors
For more information on Heart Health take a look at these websites:
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The Heart Foundations Message for Heart Week is:
You can save a life with one conversation
Simply by recommending cardiac rehabilitation you can help prevent someone having another heart attack. But less than 38% of heart attack survivors say they received a referral from hospital staff. You can play an important role in making sure all Australians who survive a heart attack are referred to cardiac rehabilitation, and have the best possible chance of living well with heart disease. During Heart Week (1-7 May) the Heart Foundation is talking about how attending cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack saves lives. Download a free resource package at www.heartfoundation.org.au/HeartWeek