Prevention is the best medicine. 8 in 10 cases of premature heart disease & stroke are preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviors. Keeping your heart healthy is something you can work on every day.
The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. This steady flow carries with it oxygen, fuel, hormones, other compounds, and a host of essential cells. It also whisks away the waste products of metabolism. When the heart stops, essential functions fail, some almost instantly.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the underlying cause of death in 41,800 deaths in 2018 (26% of all deaths) according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Mortality Database. It was an associated cause of death in 70,600 deaths.
Where CVD was listed as the underlying cause of death:
- 42% were due to coronary heart disease (CHD)
- 20% were due to stroke
- 10% were due to heart failure and cardiomyopathy
Heart disease and stroke risk factors
There is no single cause for CVD, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of a heart attack or stroke. There are modifiable factors (ones that you can change) and non-modifiable factors (ones that you can’t change).
Heart disease and stroke risk factors that you can change include:
- poor diet
- high total cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- management of diabetes
- being physically inactive
- being overweight or obese
The good news is that you can reduce your overall risk of developing CVD by leading a healthy lifestyle. Check out our 7 steps to a healthy heart infographic.