It’s time for a little heart-to-heart about health.
To stay in shape we need to keep our hearts in good health. And we all know our health is really important to our happiness.
Australian hearts healthier than ever
The good news is Australians are taking better care of their hearts and living longer, healthier lives. Good heart health has helped lower the rates of the big killers - heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
In the past few decades, fewer Australians have died of cardiovascular disease thanks to early detection, drug advances and a drop in smoking and obesity levels.
Improvements have helped save approximately 10,000 lives each year. The annual number of coronary heart disease deaths dropped from around 31,000 in 1979 to 21,700 in 2010, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Health promotion organisations such as the Heart Foundation and Quit have played a major part in our happier, healthier hearts. Their messages have reached millions of Australians, inspiring many of us to get off the couch and change our lives for the better.
But we still have a long way to go. Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every twelve minutes and it’s estimated heart attacks claim twenty-four lives each day.
However, there are a few simple ways you can keep your heart healthy and protect it from disease.
Keeping your heart healthy
Pumping blood continually around the body means your old ticker can beat up to 100,000 times a day. It’s one of the hardest working organs in your body.
Taking simple steps to look after your heart could change your life - you’re more likely to live longer, lose weight and feel more energetic.
First things first: stay active
The already hard-working heart works even harder in people who are overweight – so dropping some kilos is one of the best ways to ensure your heart stays in good condition.
The Heart Foundation recommends thirty minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as a daily brisk walk.
Being active not only helps keep your weight in check, but reduces high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to serious health problems such as a heart attack, a stroke or heart failure.
Eat your greens
People with high cholesterol levels have a higher chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
One of the best ways to manage these levels is to cut back on fatty and salty foods, and stop smoking.
Like people with high blood pressure, those with high cholesterol may not even know they are at risk. It’s a good idea to have a check-up with the GP.
Staying fit and eating healthy is the best way to keep your heart happy. Speak to your doctor if you need further advice on how to kick-start a healthy lifestyle.