Your heart is the beating pump of your body. We wouldn’t be here today without it so why don’t we look after it as well as we should?
Why your heart matters
The heart is one of the most important muscles for your body. It pumps blood so that your body receives the oxygen and nutrients it requires1. This allows your organs to function properly. It also carries carbon dioxide to your lungs so that you can breathe that waste out.
Heart disease statistics in Australia
By not looking after your heart, you put yourself at risk of experiencing a cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVDs are stroke, heart and blood vessel diseases. They are the leading cause of death around the world and a major cause of death in Australia. The National Heart Foundation of Australia gathered the following statistics about CVDs2:
- CVDs impact one in six Australians (or 4.2 million people in Australia)
- CVDs kill one Australian every 12 minutes
- CVDs caused the death of 43,963 Australians in 2016. Most of these deaths could have been prevented
- Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in Australia
- Heart diseases caused the death of 52 Australians each day in 2016
- Approximately 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack each year which is one heart attack every 10 minutes
- 22 Australians died each day on average from a heart attack in 2016 (almost one death every 66 minutes).
What’s putting our hearts at risk?
High blood pressure puts you at risk of CVDs. In 2014/15, there were 4 million adult Australians who had high blood pressure3. High cholesterol levels also lead to CVDs, with approximately 1.6 million Australians experiencing high cholesterol in 2014/153.
Smoking, obesity and a lack of exercise can contribute to CVDs. Approximately 14% of adult Australians smoked daily in 2014/153. Around 63% of adult Australians were overweight or obese in 2014/15 and 65% of Australians older than 15 years did no exercise (or very little)3.
Controlling heart risk
Now that you know the consequences from a lack of heart care, what can you do about it?
Quitting smoking is a key step towards protecting your heart. If you’re finding it difficult to stop smoking, then small steps are key. Try to reduce the amount you’re smoking each day until you are no longer smoking.
You need to make time each week to get in some exercise. Whether this involves going for a brisk walk or training at the gym, you just need to get moving!
Depression and social isolation can put you at greater risk of a heart disease4. Having a good network of family and friends is important to avoid this. Their support and encouragement will help immensely whenever you experience any setbacks.
Fixing your diet can help control high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also help with overweight or obesity issues. A diet change can include an overhaul of the meals you eat to the ingredients you use. Eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce your consumption of fast-food and try to get in a balance of all nutrients. As the video below shows, using Heart Salt instead of regular salt can also help reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) as it contains 56% less sodium than regular salt.
Your heart matters
The risk of cardiovascular diseases can be reduced but it’s up to you to make lifestyle changes. You may face some challenges along the way but you need to be committed towards change. Your heart matters. What will you do to look after it?
- Dowshen, S. 2018, Your Heart & Circulatory System, The Nemours Foundation, <https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/heart.html>
- National Heart Foundation of Australia, Heart disease in Australia, <https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia>
- Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015, National Health Survey: First results, 2014-15, ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.001>
- National Heart Foundation of Australia, Heart attack risk factors, <https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/heart-attack-risk-factors