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.
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.