Heart Foundation

by HealthyBeings on August 30, 2010

Healthy heart challenge for women

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women? When we think of women’s health issues breast cancer is often the first thing that pops to mind but alarmingly heart disease claims four times as many lives as breast cancer.

This year starting on the 11th of September the heart foundation is challenging women to take part in the 10 week challenge and make a few small lifestyle changes to improve their heart health and reduce their risk of developing heart disease.

Women over the age of 45 or after menopause are at greatest risk of developing heart disease and you don’t have to be overweight or unfit to be at risk. Research shows that many women are unaware of:

  • their risk of developing heart disease
  • the simple steps they can take to prevent heart disease
  • the symptoms that indicate something is wrong  

Therefore it’s important to examine your current lifestyle and begin making a fresh, healthy start today. Look at the checklist below and see if there are any changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

For further information on any of these topics contact a healthy beings dietitian today who will help you get started with your new healthy lifestyle plan.

Remember: you’ve only got one heart so you need to look after it.

Simple steps to reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Increase my physical activity
  • Reduce my time in sedentary activities (e.g. sitting, TV viewing, computer time)
  • Reduce my calories and/or portion sizes
  • Increase my fruit and vegetable intake
  • Eat less take-away food
  • Reduce saturated fat intake 
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce my blood pressure
  • Improve my cholesterol levels
  • Improve my mental health

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is when your coronary arteries (the arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to your heart muscle) become clogged with fatty material called ‘plaque’ or ‘atheroma’. Plaque slowly builds up on the inner wall of the arteries, causing them to become narrow. This process is called ‘atherosclerosis’. It can start when you are young and be well advanced by middle age.
If your arteries become too narrow, the blood supply to your heart muscle is reduced. This may lead to symptoms such as angina. If a blood clot forms in the narrowed artery and completely blocks the blood supply to part of your heart, it can cause a heart attack.

What are the signs of a heart attack?

  • Pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in the chest, arms, back, shoulders, neck or jaw
  • You may also feel short of breath, cold sweat, dizzy, nauseous

If you experience these symptoms stop what you’re doing and rest. If you’re with someone tell them what symptoms you’re experiencing. If these symptoms are severe, worsen or last longer than 10 minutes (even if they’re mild) this is an emergency. Get help fast. Call 000 and ask for an ambulance.

References: The Heart Foundation @ http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/sites/GoRedforWomen/SiteCollectionDocuments/WomenHeartHealth_Booklet_LR_FINAL%20for%20website.pdf

Check out the Heart Foundation Website for more information and resources.

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