What is heart disease?

Heart disease happens when there are problems with the muscles or blood vessels in the heart or in the way the heart works.

It is very common in Australia. 1 in every 6 people are living with it and it causes more deaths than any other disease.

How will I know if I have heart disease?

  • Many people are not aware that they have it until they have symptoms of a heart attack.
  • The most common warning signs of a heart attack are feeling uncomfortable or having pain in your chest. This can spread to your arms, neck, or back. It can last for a few minutes or come and go.
  • If this happens to you, go to the clinic. If you are locked down, you need to knock up.

What causes it?

Luckily, the most common causes of heart disease are things you can do something about, like:

  • What you eat
  • How much you weigh
  • How much you move
  • Smoking, drinking and drug taking
  • Connecting with friends.

Developing heart disease can be more likely if a close family member has it. You can still do something about it though. If you are 45 or older, or over 30 if you are Aboriginal, get your heart health checked. Talk to a nurse at your health centre to arrange this.

Can I prevent it?

Even small changes can help stop you getting heart disease.

There are lots of things you can do while you are inside to get your heart healthy. If you already have heart disease or another health problem, you can stop it from getting worse. These changes will also help prevent high blood pressure, high blood sugar, bone and muscle problems, and some cancers as well. 

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Tips for preventing heart disease

Get moving

Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health and wellbeing. You don’t have to do 30 minutes all at once, you can break it up over the day. Getting moving with mates in the yard can help everyone get motivated and make exercise more fun. Exercising or training with a buddy, like your cellie, is a good way to help each other. Moving more can help if your emotions are up and down, or you sometimes get stuck doing head miles. A daily routine is a good thing too. And don’t forget, walking is great exercise.

Re-think your buy-ups

  • Eat less sugar, salt and fat.
  • Look for the OK sign on the buy-ups list
  • Tinned vegetables are a great alternative if you can’t get fresh ones
  • Try adding things like rice, beans and tinned fish.
  • If you buy a treat, share it.
  • Swap food with lots of sugar and fat, for foods with less, like chips for popcorn.
  • Make water your main drink, and drink plenty of it. Aim for a waist measurement of no more than 94cm.