Cardiovascular diseases are still the number one cause of death among Australians, but the good news is that heart diseases are largely preventable.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, cardiovascular disease was the leading single cause of death and health burden in Australia in 2020. And this was mostly due to people experiencing either a heart attack or angina, which is a form of a chronic heart condition.
Heart diseases including heart attacks are considered to be mainly chronic health conditions that continue to worsen if we fail to take the right approach to our health care. For instance, regular consumption of a sugar-laden diet can raise your risk of dying from heart disease even when you’re not overweight.
As most heart diseases are chronic in nature, a management plan that includes a regular heart screening test can detect problems before symptoms develop, preventing health issues down the road.
What are cardiovascular diseases?
Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders affecting the heart and the blood vessels due to a build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. These fatty deposits can cause a blockage in the blood vessels preventing blood from flowing to the heart and the brain.
It is often called the “silent killer” as it typically has no symptoms until after it has damaged the heart, killing thousands of Australians every year.
Some common cardiovascular diseases include:
- Heart attacks and strokes
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
- Heart Valve Disease
- Rheumatic Heart Disease
- Vascular Disease
The cause of cardiovascular diseases is usually a combination of risk factors such as excessive use of tobacco, a sugar-laden diet, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, diabetes and hypertension.
As many of these risk factors are behavioural related, heart disease remains highly preventable. So, being aware of your risk factors and working on reducing them is very important.
What can we do to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases?
There are several ways you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases. The key factors that can reduce your risk for heart disease include:
- Being aware of your risk factors such as your family medical history, age or underlying health conditions
- Visiting a doctor regularly to keep track of your blood pressure and cholesterol level
- Avoiding a diet that is high in added sugar, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol
- Maintaining good nutrition and aim for a healthy weight
- Limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol
- Become physically active
- Managing diabetes
- Managing stress
Heart-health screenings can save your life
Undergoing a regular heart-health screening test with your GP will help you better understand your risk factors for a range of cardiovascular disease.
And most importantly your GP and nurse will assist you in understanding how you can lower your risk for heart diseases.
There are many types of screening tests including blood tests, chest X-ray, heart ultrasound and electrocardiogram. The type of medical tests performed is determined by your doctor based on your symptoms and risk profile.
A simple test such as the chest X-ray can provide important information on the health of your heart. Your doctors will use the results to determine if you require medications or lifestyles changes to keep you healthy.
It is recommended that every Australian aged 45 and above, or 30 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders undergo regular heart screenings.
Chronic Heart Disease Management Plan with Inkerman Medical Group
At our Chronic Care Clinic, our GPs will prepare a chronic disease management plan to manage the healthcare of patients with chronic medical conditions including cardiovascular diseases. It also includes preparing management plans for those patients requiring multidisciplinary, team-based care from a GP.
Our chronic health appointments are 45-75 minutes assessment with a nurse, followed by a doctor’s consultation.
To book a Chronic Health Assessment at our clinic, please give us a call at (03) 9527 4355.