Australian deserve a hearty well done as the nation passes a major milestone - more than 300,000 Medicare-subsidised Heart Health Checks.
New Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data has been released, showing Australians have now had more than 309,000 of such checks with their GPs since they were introduced in 2019.
More than 10 per cent of those checks have happened since March this year, following a spate of tragic heart events affecting high-profile Australians. The Heart Foundation also ran a national education and awareness campaign during Heart Week in May to encourage Australians to book in their check.
However, the Heart Foundation is now calling on Australians to continue their record-breaking heart health efforts.
Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Garry Jennings, said anyone aged 45 or over (or from 30 years for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people) should have a regular Heart Health Check.
"It is great to hit this milestone but there are over eight million people who are eligible for a check," Professor Jennings said.
"Our message to those Australians is that heart disease is progressive, and its symptoms rarely show before it's too late. A Medicare subsidised Heart Health Check takes just 20 minutes and could help add years to your life as an important first step towards a healthier heart."
Professor Jennings forecast that demand for checks might increase further as Australians resumed their routine, preventative health check-ups.
"At this rate, we could well reach our target of 450,000 Medicare-subsidised Heart Health Checks by the middle of 2023," he said.
"This just reiterates the need for Government to ensure that Heart Health Checks will be permanently subsidised by Medicare beyond its June 2023 expiry date, especially after several years of people putting off their health due to the pandemic."
The Heart Health Check milestone comes as the Heart Foundation turns its focus to the topic of cholesterol.
"We know that high cholesterol continues to be a leading cause of many cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke," Professor Jennings said.
"Prevention really is the best cure. We want more people to be curious about what is going on inside their bodies. A Heart Health Check is a great way to learn more about your own cholesterol levels.
"Following a Heart Health Check, your GP will help you manage your cholesterol levels with a range of treatment options, including support to change your lifestyle and a range of medications."
To learn more about Medicare-subsidised Heart Health Checks, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au or contact your GP to book your check.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.