Your questions answered about a Heart Health Check
A heart health check takes about 15 minutes, can you spare the time to potentially save your life?
In 2019, Heart Week is celebrated from 28 April – 4 May. We are committed to focus on the importance of having a heart health check.
This Heart Week is another reminder to have these conversations. In the words of the Heart Foundation:
“Heart Week is an opportunity for health professionals and the Australian public to start a conversation about heart health and the steps needed to reduce the risk of heart disease.”
This #HeartWeek the focus is on encouraging more people to understand their risk factors for heart disease and take the right steps to reduce this risk. The very first thing you can do to reduce your risk is get a heart health check and know your numbers.
Blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMI are the most important things to know and keep an eye on over time. However, we suggest for your initial check at least, that you have a comprehensive look at lifestyle factors and things like family history.
These extra risk factors can be found on our checklist linked here.
Q. But I’m relatively healthy, why do I need to get checked?
This is a common and really valid question. Many women we have spoken to who have heart disease thought they were not at risk before their diagnosis. Many risk factors are silent and have little to no symptoms. Some risk factors you just can’t be aware of without seeing a doctor and getting checked. This is why heart health checks are vital in saving women’s lives.
DID YOU KNOW? Studies have shown that women who come into hospital with a STEMI – a type of heart attack – already have many risk factors that men do not have. In a nutshell, women had more risk factors such as Kidney Disease, prior stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. This shows that we need to be paying more attention to women’s risk factors and encouraging preventative checks and monitoring such as a yearly heart check.
Q. I have other health issues, like cancer, does this put me at risk of heart disease?
The answer is yes, it could. Some health conditions, and especially some types of medication, can put a stress on the heart and must be considered when looking at overall health. It is important to discuss this with your doctor.
DID YOU KNOW? Research suggests that women who received hormone therapy treatment for breast cancer were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, as well as other conditions such as osteoporosis, depression and diabetes. Therefore, women who have had this sort of treatment for breast cancer should consider a heart health check as a preventative measure given their increased risk.
Q. At what age do I need to get a heart health check?
We strongly recommend having a heart health check yearly if you’re over 45 years old, and over 35 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. However, if you experience symptoms of heart disease or already have risk factors like diabetes or high blood pressure we recommend getting checked earlier.
DID YOU KNOW? The risk of heart disease increases when women hit menopause, which can start as early as 30 years old for some women. It is important that women begin getting heart health checks as soon as they go through menopause.
Did you learn something new from this article?
If so, please send this article to the women you care about. It is so important to continue to talk about heart disease with people in your life: friends, family and those who you believe could be at risk, or could take preventative measures to decrease any future risk.
Keep the conversation going, so our hearts keep pumping.