Heart Research Month

 Sandy Brangan

Sandy Brangan

Heart Research Month raises awareness about the devastating impact of heart disease and the need for ongoing research. Heart Research Australia’s focus is to obtain funding for pioneering, first-stage research to find breakthroughs for treating heart disease.

Did you know heart disease is Australia’s leading single cause of death, with 18,590 deaths attributed to heart disease in Australia in 2017? Heart disease kills one Australian every 28 minutes.

So what is classed as heart disease?

Heart disease is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect your heart.

Diseases under the heart disease umbrella include blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects), among others.

The term ‘heart disease’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘cardiovascular disease’.

Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.

Is it possible to reduce your risk of heart disease?

The short answer is yes. By improving your lifestyle, including your diet and level of fitness, you can minimise your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

90% of Australians have at least one risk factor for heart disease. The more risk factors for coronary heart disease you have, the greater your chance of developing it.

Risks you can control:

  • Smoking
  • Cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Being inactive
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet

Risks you cannot control:

  • Age: as you get older, your risk of heart disease increases.
  • Gender: men are at higher risk of heart disease. Women’s risk grows and may be equal to men after menopause.
  • Ethnic background: people of some origins (e.g. from the Indian sub-continent) have a higher risk. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can have more risk because of lifestyle factors.
  • Family history: if someone in your family has cardiovascular disease, speak to your doctor about your risk.

The good news is that for most risk factors, you can do something about them. Even if you have two or more risk factors, you can still make changes that will reduce your chances of developing heart problems.

How can you support Heart Research Australia’s REDFEB 2023?

Getting involved is as simple as wearing red during February and donating to heartresearch.com.au

Who will you be wearing red for?

Source: heartresearch.com.au

Sandy Brangan, Brangan Medical

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