Canberra, November 05, 2020: Heart Support Australia (HS-A) plays a key role in the development of the Australian five-point plan to tackle cholesterol launched today. Australia’s Cholesterol Heartache: A simple roadmap for urgent action on cholesterol management, developed with the backing of Australia’s leading cardiovascular (CVD) experts, provides a simple, actionable roadmap for the Australian Government to help prevent thousands of unnecessary, and silent deaths among the 1.15 million Australians considered ‘high risk’ by addressing ‘bad’ cholesterol. Australians at ‘high risk’ have already had a CVD event - such as a heart attack or stroke - and are three to five times more likely to have another CVD event.
Within 12 months, one in 10 heart attack survivors will experience another attack and nearly one in five people (18%) who have experienced a stroke will have another within three months. At the heart of the new roadmap is the recommendation for an ongoing cycle of annual lipid testing followed by treatment optimisation where needed - i.e. ‘test and treat’ - to ensure that all high-risk Australians know, and treat if appropriate, their ‘bad cholesterol’ level (also known as low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL-C). A further three recommendations are outlined to support this practice including standardising lipid profile reporting across Australia; updating the guidelines to reflect best practice for secondary prevention of CVD; and enhancing the role of cardiac rehabilitation across Australia.
Shoukat Khan, Scientist & National Facilitator, Heart Support Australia, a member of the advisory panel working on the report said, “Australia needs better management of heart issues to prevent people from having a secondary heart event. This is possible through management, rehabilitation, and support. It is the complacency that is putting Australians living with cardiovascular disease at a huge risk, making it the biggest killer. The report outlines the ways one can better manage cholesterol and prevent future heart events.”
To save and extend lives as outlined in the report, Australia would see a 28% increase in patients with an LDL-C level at target or below, and a significant (70%) reduction in those not on any treatment. Over a lifetime (rather than a five-year horizon), it is anticipated that these reforms will result in almost 65,000 patients avoiding a non-fatal heart attack or stroke and approximately 20,000 fewer lives lost.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program for patients who have had an acute CV event or undergone surgical intervention, most often following discharge from hospital. However, participation in cardiac rehabilitation across Australia is poor with just one in three patients referred at discharge. Hence, the five-point plan outlined in Australia’s Cholesterol Heartache: A simple roadmap for urgent action on cholesterol management also addresses cardiac rehabilitation, calling for it to be enhanced across Australia.
Heart Support Australia helps in cardiac rehabilitation as well as providing peer support to individuals after a heart event.
To learn more about the report, click here
About Heart Support Australia
Heart Support Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation providing support, information and encouragement to people who have been affected by a heart event. HS-A's role as a peak body while our network of Branches and Interest Groups across Australia provide on the ground support, particularly to those in remote, regional and rural areas.