Heart diseases are a leading cause of death in Australia. While there are many risk factors that you can’t control, but there are plenty of ways to reduce your risk such as going for a regular heart-health assessment.
Heart disease was the leading single cause of death and health burden in Australia in 2020. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, cardiovascular disease including Coronary Heart Disease and strokes kills thousands of Australians every year.
Heart disease including strokes is considered to be a mainly chronic health conditions that continue to worsen if we fail to take the right approach to our health care. For example, failing to visit a doctor regularly or avoiding early warning signs of heart diseases puts us at increased risk for heart disease.
While heart disease remains a huge concern, it’s still not inevitable. Being aware of your risk factors and undergoing a regular heart-health assessment is highly recommended to lead a healthy life.
What are cardiovascular diseases?
The term “cardiovascular disease” is used to refer to a wide range of issues affecting the health of blood vessels and the heart. This is caused due to the deposition of fats in the blood vessels. They create a blockage in the blood vessels preventing blood from flowing to the heart and the brain.
Some common cardiovascular diseases include:
- Heart attacks and strokes
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
- Heart Valve Disease
- Rheumatic Heart Disease
- Vascular Disease
It is often called the “silent killer” as it typically has no symptoms until after it has damaged the heart. In fact, according to The Heart Foundation, there are millions of Australians who are unaware of their high blood pressure. They are either unaware that their blood pressure is dangerously high or don’t know if their treatment is working well.
The cause of cardiovascular diseases is usually a combination of risk factors such as excessive use of tobacco, a sugar-laden diet, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, diabetes and hypertension.
However, the majority of the risk factors are behavioural, which makes heart disease highly preventable. So, learning more about your risk factors and working towards reducing them is the best thing you can do to keep a healthy heart.
How can you reduce your risks for cardiovascular diseases?
There are several ways you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases. They include:
- Being aware of your risk factors such as your family medical history, age or underlying health conditions
- Visiting a doctor regularly to keep track of your blood pressure and cholesterol level
- Avoiding a diet that is high in added sugar, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol
- Maintaining good nutrition and aim for a healthy weight
- Limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol
- Become physically active
- Managing diabetes
- Managing stress
A Heart-Health Assessment Can Save Your Life
A heart health assessment is performed to find heart diseases even before the symptoms are noticed. Undergoing a regular heart-health screening test with your GP will help you better understand your risk factors for a range of cardiovascular disease.
And most importantly your GP and nurse will assist you in understanding how you can lower your risk for heart diseases.
It is recommended that every Australian aged 45 and above, or 30 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders undergo regular heart screenings.
Heart-Health Assessment with Territory Medical Group
At our Chronic Disease Management Clinic, we have placed an interdisciplinary medical team to provide Coronary Heart Disease Management Plan.
It also includes preparing management plans for those patients requiring multidisciplinary, team-based care from a GP.
Territory Medical Group has also been working closely to set up the Heart Health Check Toolkit, an integrated online platform to help more patients at risk to be identified and treated, ultimately lowering the morbidity of CVD in Australia.