4 May 2022

Look out for yourself and others this Heart Week

This week from May 2nd to May 8th is Heart Week. A week all about raising awareness of the importance of taking care of one of the body’s most vital organs and the role everyone, as well as healthcare professionals, play in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

One of the main goals of Heart Week each year, in addition to increased awareness relating to heart health, is to deliver as many Heart Health Checks to as many at-risk Australians as possible. Every one of us has power to change the statistics by focussing on simple, routine practices that have a measurable life-saving impact. Start by downloading your Heart Week digital promotional pack from The Heart Foundation today. Their Heart Week microsite also features many other resources, such as a webinar on cholesterol management, a toolkit on managing heart checks and a competition to spread the word about Heart Week.

If you’re worried about your heart health, we’ve put some tips together below to help identify if you might be in trouble. If you think you or someone else may be having heart attack, please contact emergency services immediately.

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. Heart attacks happen when one or more of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to your heart, become blocked. This means blood and oxygen can’t reach the heart and causes damage to the heart muscle.

Most common signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort or pain (angina). This can feel like uncomfortable pressure, aching, numbness, squeezing, fullness or pain in your chest. This can spread to your arms, neck, jaws or back
  • Chest discomfort or pain can last for several minutes or come and go

Other less common signs of a heart attack

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or feeling faint
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Jaw, shoulder and back pain
  • Fatigue / Tiredness
  • Sweating or a cold sweat
  • No warning signs at all
  • Women under 50 years of age present more often with non-chest pain symptoms

What to do if you think you are having a heart attack:

  • A heart attack can only be diagnosed by medical tests
  • Do not ignore the warning signs of a heart attack

If you’re experiencing the warning signs of a heart attack, tell someone and seek urgent medical attention as soon as possible.

If symptoms are severe, or getting worse, or last for more than 10 minutes, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Healthy heart tips to reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease:

  • Be smoke-free
  • Do regular exercise
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Reduce your alcohol intake
  • Look after your mental health
  • Manage high blood pressure and cholesterol
  • For people with diabetes, manage blood sugar levels

If you’re wanting to learn more about Heart Week or the work that The Heart Foundation does, check out their website here.