How healthy is your heart?
Did you know that CVD is currently the number 1 cause of death in Australia?^.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the term used for heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases. However, these deaths are largely preventable.
There is no single cause for coronary heart disease, but there are ‘risk factors’ that increase your chance of developing it. There are ‘modifiable’ risk factors (ones that you can change) and ‘non modifiable’ risk factors (ones that you can’t change).
- Risk factors
Modifiable risk factors include*:
- High total blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Obesity or excess weight
- Depression, social isolation and lack of quality support
Risk factors that you can’t change include increasing age, being male and having a family history of heart disease. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also at increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The good news is that you can reduce your overall risk of developing coronary heart disease by leading a healthy lifestyle and taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
- Being overweight*
Carrying extra weight around your middle (being ‘apple-shaped’) is more of a health risk, so it is especially important for you to lose weight if this is the case.
To achieve a healthy body weight, balance the energy (kilojoules) coming into your body through food and drinks with the energy (kilojoules) being used up by your body through regular physical activity.
- Being physically active*
Physical activity is an important part of looking after your health and reducing your risk of coronary heart disease.
Regular physical activity will:
- Improve your long-term health
- Reduce your risk of heart attack
- Give you more energy
- Help you to achieve a healthier total blood cholesterol level
- Lower your blood pressure
- Make your bones and muscles stronger
- Help you to sleep better
Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous – moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, is great for your health. We recommend that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You can do this in smaller bouts, such as three 10-minute walks, if it is easier.