Heart Health Check

Heart Health Check

Background

Are you at risk? Do you need a Heart Health Check?

Every day 51 Australians die from heart disease; it’s a confronting figure.

The Heart Foundation has campaigned for Heart Health Checks because they can save lives. Heart Health Checks can also help to prevent the pain and suffering that people and their families endure after a heart attack or stroke.

Professor Garry Jennings, cardiologist and Chief Medical Advisor for the Heart Foundation says the introduction of Heart Health Checks, and better treatments for people at risk of heart disease, could, over the next five years, prevent:

  • 76,500 heart attacks and strokes
  • 9,100 deaths

A Heart Health Check could save your life or the life of someone you love. Your regular doctor will perform the check, and the results indicate your level of risk for having a heart attack or stroke within the next five years. Your Heart Health Check could involve:

  • Taking your blood to check cholesterol and glucose levels
  • Checking your blood pressure
  • Learning more about your immediate family’s heart health history (covering your parents and siblings)
  • Considering any other health conditions you may have, such as kidney disease or arrhythmias
  • Discussing your diet, whether you smoke and how active you are
  • Assessing your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement

But, how do you know if you need one?

The Heart Foundation recommends Australians over 45 years of age have a Heart Health Check. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians should have a check when they are over 35.

How do you get a Heart Health Check?

Medicare-funded Heart Health Checks will be available from your GP from April 2019. (Heart Foundation)

Why do I need one?

If you are 45 years or older (30 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) and have not had a heart attack or stroke, then you are eligible for a Heart Health Check under Medicare.

A Heart Health Check is a regular checkup performed by your doctor. A Heart Health Check helps you to understand your risk factors for heart disease and estimate how likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

The most important part of this checkup is working with your doctor to manage your risk factors to improve your heart health:

Let's talk!

  • Your doctor will start your check by talking with you about your heart disease risk factors.This usually involves having your blood pressure and cholesterol level checked and talking about what you eat, how often you are physically active, whether you smoke, as well as other risk factors for heart disease like your personal and family health history.

 

The most important part of this checkup is working with your doctor to manage your risk factors to improve your heart health:

Let's learn

Once your doctor knows your risk factors, they will enter this information into a web-based calculator to understand your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years .

Your calculator result will show whether you are at low, medium or high risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Risk Factors

Knowing your risks is the first step to avoiding a heart attack or stroke.  There’s no one cause for heart disease, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing it.

The best way to find out your risk factors is to see your GP for a heart health check!

Risk Factors that you can't change

  • Age: As you get older, your risk of heart disease increases
  • Gender: Men are at a higher risk of heart disease. Women’s risk grows and may be equal to men after menopause.
  • Ethnic Background: People of some origins such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or people from the Indian sub-continent, have higher risk
  • Family History: If someone in your family has had a heart attack

Risk Factors that you can change

  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • Monitor your blood pressure levels
  • Manage your diabetes
  • Improve your physical activity levels
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a variety of healthy foods

Depending on your result, your doctor may encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, or give you advice, information and support to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle, including changing your diet, doing more physical activity, quitting smoking or reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.

If your risk level is high, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, or both. To book your medicare covered heart health check please contact our friendly receptionists or easily book online!

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