In May the Global Alliance for Patient Access (GAfPA), an international non-profit, launched a new educational website, Know Your Numbers, Treat Your Risk, to support Australians who have experienced a heart attack, stroke or are at risk of a cardiovascular event. The site addresses both the emotional impact and the clinical risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
The website’s resources help people understand the role of cholesterol in the body and how high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) contribute to the risk of another heart attack or stroke. An estimated 110 Australians have a heart attack each day,[iv] and the website’s resources help them learn how to reduce their risk of a subsequent event, empowering them to take an active role in managing their cardiovascular health by ‘knowing their numbers and treating their risk’.
“Empowering people who have had a heart attack to engage in their ongoing health care by working with their GP to develop a plan for their heart health has been shown to be critical to secondary prevention,” said Professor Charlotte Hespe, Head of General Practice and Primary Care Research, Sydney School of Medicine. “Know Your Numbers, Treat Your Risk uses educational resources, patient stories and interviews with experts to empower patients with the knowledge, tools and support to reduce their risk of another heart attack or stroke.”
While primary prevention is critical in the fight against cardiovascular disease, there remains inadequate resources, funding and focus dedicated to secondary prevention.1 Patients and their doctors often aim to address high cholesterol through healthy eating, lifestyle modifications and medications, but many do not achieve target LDL-C levels that meet Australian or international guidelines.3,[v]
Australian guidelines currently recommend an LDL-C target of <2 mmol/L for primary prevention and <1.8 mmol/L for secondary prevention, while more recently released international guidelines recommend target LDL-C should be <1.4 mmol/L for secondary prevention.[vi]
The site also acknowledges the impact a cardiovascular event can have on mental health, with as many as 75% of people experiencing Cardiac Blues.[vii] Patient stories and expert interviews explore these feelings, which often occur in the first few weeks or months and are a normal part of recovery.
People are encouraged to proactively work with their GP to develop a heart health care plan to address factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diet, weight, exercise and mental wellbeing.
Know Your Numbers, Treat Your Risk is an initiative developed by the Global Alliance for Patient Access in collaboration with Heart Support Australia, Hearts4heart, Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Australian Centre for Heart Health, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, the Hobart Heart Centre and the Glebe Family Medical Practice.
To learn more about how to reduce the risk of another heart attack or stroke, visit Know Your Numbers, Treat Your Risk.