Heart Health

Take A Heart Check Up

Did you know that a heart attack doesn’t always mean chest pain! There are many symptoms from dizziness, to jaw tightness to the distinctive crushing chest pain.….

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

  • Upper back pain
  • Jaw pain or tightness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold sweat
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Pain and heaviness in the left shoulder or arm
  • Pain or crushing feeling in the chest

One Australian will suffer a heart attack or stroke every 4 minutes which makes heart disease the leading cause of death in Australia.

What Causes a Heart Attack?

When arteries in the heart become blocked by plaques of fats, cholesterol and calcium, there is insufficient blood to supply the heart muscle to keep it pumping.  A heart attack often comes as a shock because many sufferers are unaware they have anything wrong before the event happens. We can’t change risk factors like age, sex and genetics.  However there are modifiable factors that can be improved by making some lifestyle changes. Suggestions on how you can change the top 3 modifiable risk factors are:

  • Reduced salt and alcohol intake, increase activity/exercise levels and reduce weight can help reduce your blood pressure
  • Reduced fatty food and doing regular exercise can improve cholesterol levels
  • Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease by almost 50%!

So how can you find out what your current cholesterol or blood pressure levels are?
Heart health checks via your GP are one way to get started. If you are over 45 years and not already diagnosed with heart disease, you can claim an annual heart check-up via Medicare.

Your GP/practice nurse will check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, discuss your family, medical history and lifestyle, diet and activity levels. The GP/practice nurse will determine your risk level and help you develop a plan to reduce your risk of heart disease. Often this includes healthy diet choices and getting enough physical activity.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy?

From the current best evidence and guidelines, the following tips are some simple ways you can help keep your heart healthy:

  • Regular exercise: for adults 150 minutes moderate activity a week
  • Reducing overly salty foods
  • Reducing overly fatty foods
  • Be smoke-free
  • Keep alcohol to a minimum
  • Maintain a healthy weight (dare to check the recommended weight for your age and height click here )
  • Break up sitting time during the day
  • Reduce stress and practice mindfulness in your daily routine

What Can Physio Do to Help?

Exercise is part of both the prevention and treatment when it comes to heart health.
Physios are skilled in exercise prescription and exercise programming. To prevent the development of heart disease, you may benefit from starting a structured exercise programme to promote cardiovascular fitness.

Cardiac rehabilitation should be part of your treatment after a heart attack or heart surgery. Cardiac Rehabilitation is a graded exercise programme supervised by physiotherapists to help get you back on track with your activity levels and fitness after the event.

Here at the Adelaide Crows Sports Medicine Clinic, we offer hydrotherapy, gym based rehab and small group Physio Group Exercise Sessions-based rehabilitation. Come in and see one of our physio to help you with your heart health journey.

References: Heartfoundation.org.au, heartresearch.com.au, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

Written by Physiotherapist Crystal Waters- February 2020