Heart disease is the leading cause of disability and death in Australia. This year, Heart Week will run from 30th April to 6th May 2017 and the discussion will focus on the importance of diagnosing and treating high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood on the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it around your body. If you’re in good health, your blood pressure will fluctuate during the day, depending on your stress level, how much caffeine you’ve had, whether you’ve exerted yourself etc. It naturally increases and decreases to adjust to your heart’s needs and what you are doing.
Hypertension on the other hand, results when your blood pressure remains elevated for a long time and is the leading risk factor for heart disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and a number of other serious illnesses. Regardless of these well-known facts, managing high blood pressure remains a large national problem. Almost six million adult Australians have high blood pressure, and many don’t manage their condition.
High blood pressure can be strongly influenced by family history, diet, alcohol intake, weight and the level of physical activity of an individual. There are no warning signs or symptoms for high blood pressure which is why it is important to have it checked. Besides medication, keeping your heart healthy can control high blood pressure. This includes being smoke free, managing your diabetes, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying a variety of nutritious foods e.g. lower salt intake, replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats, limit alcohol).
Arche Health’s Aboriginal Health Team helped raise awareness for Heart Week by hosting an early breakfast for Arche Health staff on Monday April 1st, followed by a morning team walk around the block.
Fast facts on hypertension
- Close to six million Australians have hypertension which represents 33.7% of adult Australians.
- The prevalence of hypertension is higher for Australian males (35.3% or three million adults) than females (32.3% or 2.9 million adult females).
- Adults in regional/rural Australia have a 27% higher rate of hypertension compared to people living in the metropolitan.
Resources: Heart Foundation