By the time you finished reading this article, one Australian would have died of heart disease - so kindly, please read this if you are over 45 or know someone dear to you who has the associated risks.
Let’s begin with some frightening Statistics of Heart health in Australia
(CVD) Cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases)
- kills one Australian every 12 minutes
- affects one in six Australians or 4.2 million
- CVD was the leading cause for 480,548 hospitalisations in 2013/14 and played an additional role in another 680,000 hospitalisations
- claimed the lives of 45,053 Australians (30% of all deaths) in 2014 - deaths that are largely preventable
- lower socioeconomic groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those living in remote areas had the highest rate of hospitalisation and death resulting from CVD in Australia.
(CHD) Coronary heart disease or heart disease
- kills one Australian every 26 minutes
- is the single leading cause of death in Australia
- affects around 1.2 million Australians
- claimed the lives of 20,173 Australians (13% of all deaths) in 2014
Who is at risk?
A risk factor is something that that increases your likelihood of getting a disease. There are several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being physically inactive
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of heart disease
- Ethnic background
- Sex - men are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease at an earlier age than women.
- Age - the older you are, the more likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, then the information below may be useful as there are small changes you can make in your lifestyle which will help toward not becoming part of the above statistics.
Salt is essential for life; however, Australians are consuming far too much. Salt is made up of sodium and chloride, and it’s the sodium in salt that can be bad for your health.
Eating too much sodium over time can increase your risk of high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease. For a healthy heart, it’s important not to eat too much salt.
You may think you are not part of this high salt/sodium community, but If you eat a few salty foods over your day, it’s easy to find yourself over the recommended intake. For example, salt is found in bread, cheese and processed meats, which means a regular ham and cheese sandwich can pack a sodium punch. Just one sandwich can contribute almost 40% of the upper limit of salt for the day for an adult, and a whopping 70% for a child.
Choosing fresh foods, and lower salt versions of your favourite products all helps to lower the amount of salt you’re eating which and reduce high blood pressure (hypertension)
Reduce Your Stress:
Reducing Stress may seem like it is easier said than done, but there are many ways one can easily reduce stress. First, identify what makes you stressed and then eliminate it or channel that energy towards something like yoga, meditation, or Tai Chi or just do something that makes you smile and laugh and relax.
When it comes to the health of your heart, it is important that you are getting proper circulation. Exercise goes a long way to helping to promote circulation and reduce high blood pressure. Exercise daily. Start off by incorporating a daily walk into your routine. Make a scheduled time every day to exercise and stick to it. If you are limited by knee, hip, or back injuries, try swimming, yoga, rebounding, or using a recumbent bike. Aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity when you exercise if you want to lower blood pressure or cholesterol.
Your Health Starts with YOU
Three risk factors for heart disease that you can't control are your gender, your age, and your family genes. Everything else is up to you. If you’re living with heart disease or you want to prevent it, here's what you CAN do:
- If you are a smoker, then Quit smoking - NOW!
- Get active, start an exercise program, and lose excess weight
- “Eat heart-healthy” - more fruit, vegetables, fiber - less fat, less salt (sodium causes hypertension), sugar and processed foods
- Manage your stress and make wise lifestyle choices
- Know and manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Get regular check-ups
If it took you 12 minutes to read this article then in that 12 minutes one Australian just died from Cardiovascular Disease (CDV)
Salt and high blood pressure
High dietary intakes of salt leads to high blood pressure. Reducing salt in your diet can reduce your blood pressure, however the extent to which it does depends on age, physical activity levels, weight and stress.
World Health Organization
Heart Foundation Australia