Richard was the kind of man who was on top of the world, great business, a happy marriage and his children were thriving at school. He thought he had it all until he found himself laid out on a hospital gurney and rushed into the operating room for double bypass surgery.
Ellen thought herself of herself as healthy and active even at 50. You can imagine her surprise when her doctor told her that her blood pressure put her at risk of a heart attack.
What Richard and Ellen have in common is that they both have heart disease.
The World Health Organization research on the leading causes of death tells us heart disease is the number one cause of death across our planet.
source: World Health Organization
Are YOU next?
People know a lifestyle change is necessary, but often they don't know where to start. Or they may have trouble staying motivated. Sometimes they don't know where to turn to find resources such as heart rate or blood pressure monitors, exercise advice or equipment, or even heart-healthy recipes. People want to know what small changes in lifestyle make the biggest differences?
Am I at risk right now?
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.
Some Frightening Statistics from the Heart Foundation of Australia
Cardiovascular disease (CVD):
Coronary heart disease or heart disease (CHD):
- is heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases
- kills one Australian every 12 minutes
- affects one in six Australians or 4.2 million
- CVD was the main 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.
- affects around 1.2 million Australians
- is the single leading cause of death in Australia
- claimed the lives of 20,173 Australians (13% of all deaths) in 2014
- kills one Australian every 26 minutes
- It is estimated over 400,000 Australians have had a heart attack at some time in their lives.
- Each year, around 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack. This equates to one heart attack every 9 minutes.
- Heart attack claimed 8,623 lives in 2014, or on average, 24 each day.
What can YOU do?
Change Your Diet:
Making a small change in your diet can be a great starting point to combating heart disease naturally. If you are eating lots of grains, hydrogenated oils, high in sugar, High in salt, and highly processed foods, or meat & poultry, and dairy products can have negative long-term effects on your diet
Did you know?
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:
This 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:
- 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 checkups
If it took you 12 minutes to read this article then in that 12 minutes one Australia just died from Cardiovascular Disease (CDV)
World Health Organization
Heart Foundation Australia