Your guide to: Heart Disease

All the information you need to know on Heart Disease

The devastation

Cardiovascular disease (more commonly known as heart disease) is the leading cause of death in Australia, affecting one in six Australians. In 2012 it claimed the lives of 43946 Australians, which was 30% of all deaths. Two out of three families have the disease which means that it is very likely that in some stage of your life you and your family will be affected. Coronary heart disease is the biggest affecting form of heart disease.

How do you know if you have the disease?

There are many signs and symptoms of Heart disease. Some of these include:

Shortness of breath - This symptom takes place when you have heart failure. It is caused when fluid builds up in your lungs making it hard to breathe.

Angina - Angina is chest pain or discomfort that happens if an area of heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen rich blood. It can feel like a squeezing pressure in the chest, shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. If the pain or discomfort doesn't go away then its a sign of a heart attack.

Arrhythmia - Arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heart. You may feel like your hearts skipping beats, beating to fast or feel a fluttering in your chest called palpitations. Your heart may stop beating due to Arrhythmia which is called sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) if this isn't treated within minutes then it will cause death.

Some other signs and symptoms include; nausea, vomiting, light - headedness, fainting, breaking out into a cold sweat, poor skin colour and sleep problems.

Risk factors and preventive measures

Risk factors:

smoking, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity, overweight, depression. There are also risk factors that you cant change such as; being male, increasing age and having a family history of heart disease.

Preventive measures:

being smoke free, healthy eating, physically active, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, healthy body weight, maintaining psychological and social health.

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