Reading Time: 3 minutesRaising awareness of the importance of heart health
It is a little known fact that heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women, taking one life every hour of every day. For Indian-Australians the risks are even greater as over the past ten years heart disease has emerged as the number one killer among Indians.
The Heart Foundation’s annual fundraiser Go Red for Women, this year held on Thursday 11 June, is an opportunity to reconsider your lifestyle choices, help increase awareness and to raise funds for heart health.
Many people assume breast cancer is the biggest cause of death among women when in fact heart disease kills three times more. Not that it’s a competition, but there are risk factors for heart disease that can be easily minimised through simple lifestyle changes.
With heart disease, you don’t have to be old, you don’t have to be overweight and your risk increases after menopause.
According to data from the World Health Organisation, of the projected 64 million people who will die in 2015, 41 million will die of a chronic disease. In India, 26 per cent or 2.5 million will die from cardiovascular disease unless urgent action is taken. In Australia, heart disease affects one in six Australians or 3.72 million.
Risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease or heart disease are smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. These same behaviours can also lead to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases.
“India has the dubious distinction of being known as the coronary and diabetes capital of the world,” said Prof Prakash Deedwania, from the University of California at the World Congress of Cardiology organised by the World Heart Federation in 2012. It is startling to realise that India’s cases of heart disease and diabetes have in fact increased since he made that statement.
By eliminating risk factors, at least 80 per cent of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented, according to the WHO.
This year we’re helping to fight the single biggest killer of Australian women by raising awareness of the importance of heart health.
Tips for improving heart health:
- Be active for 30 mins a day: Take a brisk walk or partake in aerobic exercise.
- Choose healthy fats: Trans-fats and saturated fats are the biggest culprit when it comes to heart disease. Replace high fat foods such as butter, cream, coconut and palm oil with oils, spreads or butters.
- Eat a variety of foods, but in moderation: Heart friendly foods are oats, nuts, berries, salmon. Avoid excess sugar and salt.
- Be smoke free: Try to quit smoking or cut back.
- Know your numbers: Monitor your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol level.