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Heart Health Check
A Heart Health Check is a 30 minute check-up with your GP to assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.
What is a Heart Health Check?
You will discuss with your GP:
- Your family health history
- Your medical history
- What you eat
- How active you are
- Whether you smoke or drink alcohol
- Whether you are maintaining a healthy weight
Your GP will check your:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar levels
Your GP will use this information to assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.
Your GP will work with you to set a plan to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. This may involve:
- Ways to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle
- Referrals to programs or other health professionals for more support e.g. dietitians
- Blood pressure or cholesterol lowering medication if you are at higher risk
Why should you get a Heart Health Check?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Many heart attacks and strokes can be prevented through healthy behaviours like eating a heart healthy diet, being active, maintaining a healthy weight and being smoke free. Many people may not know their risk of developing heart disease, especially since you often can’t feel risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol. Having a Heart Health Check is an important first step to protecting your heart.
What can you do now to improve your heart health?
Enjoy a heart healthy diet
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains
- A variety of healthy protein sources especially fish and seafood, legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure the meat is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. People with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices with nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt
Maintain a healthy weight
It is important to maintain a healthy body weight because it can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and lower your risk of having a heart problem.
The Heart Foundation recommends you aim for a waist measurement of less than 80cm for females or 94cm for males. If you need to lose weight, speak with your GP about how to do it in a healthy way.
Start with small, realistic goals and work your way up to the recommended 30-60 minutes of
moderate intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) on most days of the week.
Smoking and alcohol
If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your heart is quit smoking. For support to quit smoking talk with your GP or call the Quitline (13 7848 or quit.org.au). Drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
What do your Heart Health Check results mean?
If your level of risk is over 15% you have at least a 1 in 7 chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years if left unmanaged.
If your level of risk is between 10-15% you have at least a 1 in 10 chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years if left unmanaged.
If your level of risk is under 10% you have a less than 1 in 10 chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years if left unmanaged. You will also need to have your level of risk monitored. Discuss with your doctor how often this needs to be done.