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Heart Week - reminder of New England region’s unwanted reputation as the Achy Breaky Heart capital

Posted April 30 2021

With Heart week starting on Monday May 3 the PHN’s rural Clinical Council is urging all health professionals and community members to start a conversation about heart health and discuss the steps we all need to take to reduce our risk of developing heart disease.

Clinical Council member and Director of Tamworth based RuralFit Andrew Mahony said this message was particularly relevant for the Tamworth and broader New England region.

“Our region has the state's highest rate of deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD). Our death rate is 85.8 out of every 100,000 people, well above the state average of 64.5”, said Mahony.

“What is frustrating for so many health professionals is that while a recent Heart Foundation survey found two in three (65%) people said they knew exercise can lower their risk of heart disease, over thirds of these people said that they do not meet Australian physical activity guidelines (30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days a week).”

To encourage more Australians to get moving, the Heart Foundation has developed a free, six-week walking program that provides participants with tailored plan that is matched to their current activity levels as part of the easy, two-minute sign-up process.

Plans are delivered via weekly emails and texts, which are designed not only to support and motivate participants, but also to deliver information about the many benefits of walking beyond fitness and heart health.

To get started with a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan, visit walking.org.au.

“During Heart Week we would also encourage community members to check the Heart Foundation’s Heart Age Calculator”, said Mahony.

“The calculator helps people understand their risk of a heart attack or stroke by determining their heart age. Heart age is an assessment of well-known risk factors for heart disease to estimate an individual’s risk of heart attack or stroke compared to a defined healthy range.”

“If you return a heart age higher than your actual age this indicates a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke and as such it is vitally important that you take action by having a Heart Health Check with your local GP. The Heart Age Calculator is not a clinical tool and does not replace the need to see your doctor for a comprehensive Heart Health Check.”

The calculator is located at www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-age-calculator

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