Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in Australia, yet it seems many of us are unaware we are at significant risk. New research from the Heart Foundation and the National Health and Medical Research Council has found that around 1 in 5 of the population aged between 45 and 74, or 1.4 million Australians, are at a high risk of heart attack or stroke within the next five years, yet almost 1 million of them are not receiving the recommended mix of medications and treatment1.
Here are the stats:
- 55,000 Australians have heart attacks each year
- One in three heart attacks is a repeat case
- 1 in 5 sufferers will have another heart attack within a year
- Each heart attack costs the health system $30,700
A further study by The Heart Foundation found that 50% of survivors have trouble keeping up with tasks like gardening or looking after children while a quarter can’t even go back to work2. These findings should serve as a wake-up call to the vast number at risk of the disease and who are missing out on lifesaving pay-checks.
Just last week, we discussed the impact of critical illness, asking people to imagine themselves in a situation where they were unable to work and had large medical bills to cover. It’s not an easy thing to think about, but with 25% of heart attack survivors not returning to work, this again becomes an important question. With the direct cost of a heart attack averaged at $25,000, and $281,000 in total3, how would you cope with the financial impact of suffering a heart attack and being rendered unable to work, potentially into the foreseeable future?
However, with this information, “Australia has a massive opportunity to prevent heart attack and strokes,” said Professor Emily Banks, leader of The Australian National University research team. Professor Banks highlights the importance of full cardiovascular risk assessment to understand risk levels and give people advance warning to help themselves. Along with comprehensive recommendations from a doctor, living a heart-healthy lifestyle is your best defence against heart disease and stroke. Physical inactivity contributes to almost 25% of cardiovascular disease in Australia. “If physical activity is thought of as a medication with an adult dose of 30 to 60 minutes a day, there is scarcely anything that could be taken daily that would provide comparable health benefits,” says Heart Foundation Spokesperson on Physical Activity, Trevor Shilton.
However, keeping your body healthy and strong can be a tough balancing act for those who work 9-5 hours. Last year, we wrote a blog that focused on tips for office workers to maintain an active lifestyle while still working, and we’ve recapped the main points below:
- Drink Water
Drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day can help control hunger, energise our muscles, clear our skin and keep our kidneys and bowel healthy.
- Prepare your meals ahead of time
A healthy diet is one of the best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease – the food you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and weight.
- Partner Up
Having a partner (it can be anyone!) is a great way to stay motivated, feel supported and have a lot of fun along the way.
- Go to the Gym at Lunch
A local gym may be your solution: A couple of times a week, pack a gym bag, pre-prep a meal and make your way to the gym.
- Be active at the office
Standing at your desk is a great way to increase productivity and contribute to a decrease in obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Similarly, taking a few extra steps throughout the day to talk to your co-workers instead of an email is a great way to keep active in small bursts throughout the day.
For the rest of our Fighting Fit 9-5 article, click here. Research has shown that 3-4 sessions per week, lasting on average 40 minutes per session, and involving moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep your weight at a healthy level. Something IS better than nothing. If you’re doing nothing now, start out slow and remember that regular physical activity is important for good health and increasing life expectancy by reducing the risk of heart disease and other non-communicable diseases.
This article is for general information purposes only. It has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
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