Love your heart this Valentine’s Day

Boost your heart health with these Heart Foundation tips


Latest in Health
It's never too late to look after your heart.

It's never too late to look after your heart.

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It's never too late to love your heart and it's never been easier with these tips from the Heart Foundation.

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THIS Valentine’s Day, why not take the leap and make the commitment to love your heart?

Heart disease is Australia’s biggest killer, with an average of one Aussie dying of the illness every 28 minutes.

While there are some risk factors you can’t change, such as age, gender or family background, you can take steps to reduce your risk of heart disease through your lifestyle.

“People should be loving their heart and every age. We need from from the moment we’re born until the moment we die,” said Rachelle Foreman, the Heart Foundation’s support and care director.

Awareness of heart attack symptoms is still very low, with only two in five heart attack survivors reporting that they knew they were having a heart attack at the time.

“It’s like the plumbing in a house. The older the pipes, the more likely there is to be a problem. But it can affect anyone at any age. It’s the same with arteries.” - Rachelle Foreman.

“We know that people aren’t scared of heart disease. They think ‘it won’t happen to me, and if it does, I’ll just have it fixed’. But there is no cure, even though they can do amazing things to remove blockages,” Ms Foreman said. 

There’s also a common misconception that heart disease only affects “old men”.

“It’s like the plumbing in a house. The older the pipes, the more likely there is to be a problem. But it can affect anyone at any age. It’s the same with arteries.” 

Ms Foreman urged people to become familiar with the symptoms – and to seek help if they think something isn’t right.

 “No one dies of embarrassment but they do die when they delay seeking help.”

Warning signs of a heart attack can include discomfort, heaviness, tightness pressure or pain in the chest; pain or discomfort in the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw or back; shortness of breath; nausea; cold sweat; being dizzy or light-headed; vomiting; and generally feeling unwell.

It’s not too late

It’s never too late to start looking after your heart – even if you’ve already had a heart attack.

“Even if you’ve had one previously, you can work on preventing the next heart attack,” Ms Foreman said.

There are many ways to promote heart health, including eating a healthy diet and getting physical.

“Last Heart Week, we focused on physical activity with our Don’t Get the Sits campaign.

“Physical activity is one of the best medicines, particularly for older adults. There are very few downsides.

“Looking after your heart doesn’t mean you have to be an angel. Small changes every day will make a big difference,” Ms Foreman said.

Healthy heart tips

Know your numbers

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are known as silent killers because they have no obvious signs or symptoms. Make sure you know your numbers and if they are high the good news is that they can be controlled through lifestyle changes. In more serious cases they can be managed using medications prescribed by a health professional.

Eat a heart healthy diet

Eating a varied diet of healthy foods can help manage your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Raise your pulse and get moving

Any physical activity is better than none at all. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended levels of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.

Find your motivation by joining your local Heart Foundation walking group at walking.heartfoundation.org.au

Quit smoking

After one year, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is reduced by half, and in 5 to 15 years the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease returns to that of people who have never smoked. People thinking about quitting smoking should speak with their doctor or call the Quitline 13 78 48.

Get connected

We know there can be a greater risk of heart disease for people with depression, or who may be socially isolated or for those who do not have quality social supports around them.

Physical exercise also has a positive impact on moods – and if you join a Heart Foundation walking group you might find someone to buddy up with to keep you motivated.

Have a heart health check

The Heart Foundation recommends that every person aged 45 years and over, and 35 years and over for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples, should visit their doctor for a heart health check at least every two years.​ 

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