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Cardiovascular disease in Australia
Diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels (cardiovascular disease) have a big impact on our population. About 4.2 million Australian adults have cardiovascular disease, and evidence suggests this number is growing each year. In addition, over 1 million people go to hospital each year because of a heart or blood vessel problem. Nearly 30% of all the deaths in Australia in 2016 were due to cardiovascular disease. Clearly, this is a very serious and very widespread problem.
The good news is that this can change.
The most common types of cardiovascular disease affect the blood vessels of the heart (coronary heart disease), which leads to heart attack or angina, or the blood vessels of the brain, which can lead to stroke. These types of cardiovascular disease can often be prevented. Even if you have been diagnosed with a heart or blood vessel problem, there are treatments that can help lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future. There are many risk factors, and the more of these you have, then the greater the chance you may end up having a heart attack or stroke.
Some factors can’t be changed, such as age, gender, ethnicity and family history. There are, however many others that can be changed or modified to help reduce your chances of developing heart and blood vessel problems. These include:
Am I at risk of heart disease or stroke?
Signs of heart or blood vessel diseases are often not obvious until it is too late and a heart attack or stroke occurs. This is why it is important for people aged 45 years and over to know their current risk of heart disease and stroke. Then they can take action to minimise their risk of future problems.The measurement of this risk is called an
absolute cardiovascular risk score.
An absolute cardiovascular risk score is your chance of having an event like a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years. The lower your score, the less chance you have. If you would like to know your risk please click on the link below (you may have to copy and paste on some email programs). We are also happy to assist you
assessing and interpreting your results at the pharmacy.www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/publications/aust-cardiovascular-risk-charts.pdf
I have my risk score - what happens now?
Whatever your risk score is now, you can take action to change it for the better. This can include making positive changes to your diet, activity levels and weight, as well as stopping smoking. If you have a moderate or high risk score, you should speak with your doctor. If you currently have a low risk score, you should reassess your risk every 2 years.
Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. You can help to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes:
Heart disease affects 1 out of 5 people in our community. The consequences can be devastating but sadly many are avoidable. Know your risk and know simple actions can have profound impact on the length and quality of your life.
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