Women’s Health Week 2022, Commit to Quit.

Did you know that just a few cigarettes a day, social smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increases your risk of heart disease?

The use of nicotine and tobacco products increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the arteries of the heart, causing the build-up of plaque and development of blood clots, thereby restricting blood flow and eventually leading to heart attacks and strokes. The risk of heart attack for smokers can be twice as high as someone who does not smoke.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and your heart!

Some benefits that you can experience when you quit smoking include:

  • Your family and friends will no longer be at risk from your second-hand smoke
  • Your sense of taste and smell may improve
  • Exercising will become easier
  • Your fertility levels will improve
  • Your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby will also increase
  • You will save money.

What happens to your body when you quit smoking:

  • During the first 24 hours, your heart rate will slow, and your blood pressure will become more stable.
  • After the first day, your nicotine and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped, and oxygen will be reaching your heart and muscles more easily.
  • Within one week your sense of taste and smell may have improved.
  • Within three months your lungs will be recovering, getting better at removing mucus, tar and dust, and you will be coughing or wheezing less, plus circulation to your hands and feet will be improving.
  • After six months you’ll notice your stress levels are likely to have dropped, and your lungs are much clearer.
  • After one year your lungs will be healthier and stronger, and breathing much easier than if you’d kept smoking.
  • Within two to five years your risk of heart disease will have dropped significantly and will continue to do so the longer you continue to not smoke.
  • After 15 years your risk of heart attack and stroke will be similar to that of someone who has never smoked.

Women in paddock holding hands up like hearts

Commit to Quit

See your GP or contact the Quitline 13 78 48 (13QUIT) for help and support to make a commitment to your heart, quit smoking and reduce your risk of heart disease or heart attack.

Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups & Free Membership

Experiencing a heart event increases your risk of having another. Your mental health, social interactions with people, and participation in activities play a huge role in your recovery and improving your quality of life. It is important to avoid isolation and make sure you are connecting with family, friends and support groups with your peers to help reduce your risks of a secondary heart event.

Visit here to find out more about Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups and free membership.

Women’s Health Week 2022, Get Active, Eat Healthy, Reduce Your Risks.

Being inactive and/or overweight are two of the most common lifestyle risk factors associated with heart disease for women. Women living a sedentary lifestyle significantly increase their risk of health issues including weight gain, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, heart attack and other heart related problems. Taking some steps to become more active, engage in regular physical exercise and establish healthy eating habits has many benefits for your overall physical health and mental wellbeing but especially for the health of your heart.

Get Active, Reduce Your Risk

Incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine – this doesn’t mean you have to be at the gym at 5am!! But rather, by making small changes that are likely to become good habits, you will be on your way to a healthy heart lifestyle. Walking* is a form of aerobic exercise and has great benefits for your heart health. Aim for 20-30 minutes of walking or approximately eight thousand steps every day to help reduce your risk.

  • Park further away from your work or get off public transport a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Opt to take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.
  • Enjoy a walk during your lunch hour.
  • Go for an evening walk instead of watching TV on the couch.

*Walking may not be for you for a variety of reasons. Check with your GP for a safe and effective alternative that is just right for you.

Colourful, Healthy Food

Healthy Eating

Three in five Australian women are overweight or obese putting them at risk of developing heart disease. Combine your new daily physical activity with healthy eating habits to help further reduce your risk. Refrain from adding salt and sugar to your foods and drinks, enjoy a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, and try seasoning with herbs and spices. We recommend including the Mediterranean Diet into your weekly menu to assist with healthier living. Your heart and your tastebuds will thank you!

Always check with your GP before embarking on a weight loss journey or starting a new exercise program for guidance and information.

Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups & Free Membership

Experiencing a heart event increases your risk of having another. Your mental health, social interactions with people, and participation in activities play a huge role in your recovery and improving your quality of life. It is important to avoid isolation and make sure you are connecting with family, friends and support groups with your peers to help reduce your risks of a secondary heart event.

Visit here to find out more about Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups and free membership.

Women’s Health Week 2022, Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Checks.

Are you conscientious with getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked?

High blood pressure or hypertension can make the heart work harder than usual. Left untreated, this condition can cause damage to your arteries leading to heart disease. Cholesterol is a fatty-like substance found in the blood and body cells that can build up in the inner artery walls over time, harden, and turn into plaque – a process called atherosclerosis. That build-up of plaque narrows the artery walls, reducing blood flow which can cause blockages leading to blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

 

Atherosclerosis

It is important to be conscientious with getting your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly with your GP as these conditions are often termed as silent killers due to not always manifesting with obvious or visible symptoms. Many women are not aware that cholesterol in particular is also one of the most common factors putting women at risk of heart disease or heart attack.

We encourage you to have regular heart health checks with your GP, as once detected, these conditions can be managed to reduce your risk and lead a healthy heart lifestyle.

Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups & Free Membership

Experiencing a heart event increases your risk of having another. Your mental health, social interactions with people, and participation in activities play a huge role in your recovery and improving your quality of life. It is important to avoid isolation and make sure you are connecting with family, friends and support groups with your peers to help reduce your risks of a secondary heart event.

Visit here to find out more about Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups and free membership.

Women’s Health Week 2022, Do you know your risk of heart disease or heart attack?

Do you know your risk of heart disease or heart attack?

Risk of heart disease and heart attack significantly increases with age. If you are a woman aged 45 years or over, or a woman of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent aged 30 years or over, we encourage you to talk with your GP about other lifestyle or family history risk factors that may also affect your heart health.

Most cases of heart disease can be preventable or treated with early detection and lifestyle changes if you know and understand your risk factors.

Lifestyle risk factors that can be associated with heart disease are smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, being inactive and/or overweight, an unhealthy diet, and depression or stress. Pregnancy complications can also increase the risk of heart disease later in life.

Mature lady seeking medical advice

Annual Heart Health Check

If you talk with your GP and undergo an annual heart health check, your doctor can assist you to understand your risk factors and help you to lead a healthy heart lifestyle.

What you can expect from a heart health check

  • Approximately a 20-minute consultation with your GP to allow time to complete the check.
  • Tests to check your blood pressure, and cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • A conversation about your diet, if you smoke, if you drink alcohol and how often, exercise levels, weight, medical history and family history.
  • Your doctor will identify any risk factors of heart disease and explain what steps you can take to reduce those risks. Depending on your risk factors this may include prescribing medication or providing referrals to other health practitioners for additional help, such as a cardiologist or dietitian.
  • Women aged 45 and over, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 30 and over, are eligible for an annual heart health check subsidised by Medicare. This means that your heart health check is free at medical practices that bulk bill this service. However, it is recommended to check with your doctor’s office to check their bulk billing services and if there may be other out-of-pocket costs.

Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups & Free Membership

Experiencing a heart event increases your risk of having another. Your mental health, social interactions with people, and participation in activities play a huge role in your recovery and improving your quality of life. It is important to avoid isolation and make sure you are connecting with family, friends and support groups with your peers to help reduce your risks of a secondary heart event.

Visit here to find out more about Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups and free membership.