Keeping Track of your Heart
Keeping Track of your Heart
by: Heart Foundation
The Healthy Heart Challenge starts this Wednesday, so now is a good time to get a check up and see how your heart is tracking.
It pumps away inside, keeping us alive, but the old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is often true when it comes to our heart’s health.
A 2004 survey found 70 per cent of Australians had never spoken to their doctor about heart disease or had their heart health checked. With heart disease the biggest killer of Australian women and men, this is a worrying response. What is even more worrying is a staggering 97 per cent of Australians are unaware that 31 women in Australia lose their life to heart disease every day.
The reality is women are at just as much risk to this deadly disease as men are. In fact, between 10 to 15 years after menopause, more women have heart attacks than men. Every year the number of women dying from heart disease grows, despite the fact more women visit their doctor for a check-up compared to men.
The danger is they’re not asking to have their heart’s health checked.
That’s why the Heart Foundation is calling on women to ask for a heart check-up when they visit the GP for a yearly mammogram or Pap smear. When visiting your GP you should also check the following to monitor the health of their heart:
High blood pressure is a major risk factor with few warning signs. Yearly blood pressure checks can help detect problems early and treat them more effectively.
Cholesterol is fatty substances found in the blood. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease as it can gradually clog blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the heart and leading to a heart attack. Regular tests by your GP can monitor your cholesterol level and help detect any problems early.
Blood Sugar Test
Diabetes can contribute to heart disease and blood sugar tests will help your GP screen for diabetes. Through the regular checks your GP can detect any problems and put you on the right treatment immediately.
If someone in your family, male or female, has experienced heart disease it is important to let your GP know. A family history of heart disease is another risk factor that your GP should be aware of.
Talk to your GP
You should talk to your GP about preventing heart disease and recognising the symptoms of heart disease. Many people are unaware of the symptoms of heart disease and though many people experience central chest pain there are other symptoms to watch out for. Women can experience these symptoms but they tend to be much more subtle and develop less typical symptoms like nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, extreme lethargy and flu-like symptoms as well as shoulder and back pain.
These somewhat familiar feelings mean women often assume they are just a little ‘off colour’ and they certainly don’t associate these feelings as the possible warning signs of a heart problem. So if you don’t feel quite right, don’t discredit those feelings and visit your GP immediately.
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