Heart Disease

Heart Disease

 

Learn the warning signs
During National Heart Week this year, 2-8 May, the Heart Foundation is asking the question: “Will you recognise your heart attack?” Heart attack warning signs vary from person to person; and they may not always be sudden or severe.

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What does a stroke look like?
Heart and blood vessel disease, known medically as cardiovascular disease, remains Australia’s number one killer. It affects nearly 2.5 million Australians. Together, heart attack and stroke (maybe we should call it “brain attack”) account for around a third of all deaths in Australia. This year Australians will suffer more than 60,000 new and recurrent strokes – that’s one stroke every 10 minutes. Statistics indicate that one in five people having a first ever stroke will die within a month and one in three die within a year.

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We all should work with heart
Hypertension (the medical term for abnormally high blood pressure) is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the most serious risk factors for death worldwide. It is estimated that about 30% of Australian adults have hypertension; and most of these people are receiving no treatment. What makes hypertension so serious is that, well before the explosive heart attack or stroke occurs, there is underlying, sometimes irreparable damage done to the cardiovascular system, the kidneys and the brain. Also, hypertension, especially when combined with diabetes, significantly increases the risk of blindness.

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Are all our health dollars going to waist?
The consequences of carrying excess weight cost us dearly – both individually and as a community. Cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes are probably the most significant conditions resulting from obesity; but there are many other conditions as well that are associated with carrying around too much weight. Weight related health problems include back pain, muscle and joint problems, osteoarthritis, stress incontinence, sleep apnoea and general fatigue. There are also psychological problems: low self esteem, low self confidence and depression.

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Diabetes – a monumental challenge
Worldwide diabetes is fast reaching epidemic proportions. In fact, diabetes is the fourth main cause of death in most developed countries. Recent figures from the World Health Organization indicate that more than 3 million deaths throughout the world are attributable to diabetes each year; numbers comparable to the most deadly of infectious diseases – AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Studies show that nearly one in four Australian adults either has diabetes or so-called impaired glucose metabolism which is associated with a substantial risk of diabetes and heart disease.

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Fabulous fibre
The benefits of fibre in the diet have been known for many years. In fact, one of the earliest proprietary fibre supplements, containing parts of the seed of the Plantago ovata (psyllium) plant, was marketed more than 75 years ago as the non-irritant laxative Metamucil. But, we now know that fibre offers more benefits than just a better functioning bowel. Each of the four main types of fibre – soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, resistant starches and so-called oligosaccharides – works in a different but complementary way. So, it’s important to get dietary fibre from a variety of sources: fruit, vegetables, legumes, pulses, nuts and the bran or husk of cereal grains.

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Good health gift ideas
For many people, Christmas has deep religious significance; for others, it’s simply a time to relax and enjoy a few days off work. But for almost everyone, this time of year has traditionally become one of celebration. Throughout many societies it is commonplace to exchange gifts or simply ‘season’s greetings’, and to express sentiments of peace and goodwill. Wishes of good health usually accompany greetings at this time of year; so, perhaps some healthy gift ideas could be worth a thought as well.

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Coping with the physical consequences of the festive season


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Relieving the pressure of heart disease
Blood pressure is designated by two readings. The higher of these (the systolic) is a measure of the pressure when the heart is beating and the lower reading (the diastolic) is a measure of resting pressure – when the heart relaxes. Blood pressure is usually measured in millimetres of mercury – abbreviated to “mmHg” – and if the systolic reading is equal to or above 140 mmHg and/or the diastolic reading equal to or above 90 mmHg then the blood pressure is considered to be high.

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WARREN - PHARMACIST / MANAGER

WARREN

PHARMACIST / MANAGER

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