According to the Heart Foundation, people are at greater risk of experiencing mental health concerns following a heart event.
“A heart event is a major hit on anyone’s book,” says the Heart Foundation’s Heart Health General Manager, Bill Stavreski.
“While only a minority of patients develop severe clinical depression after a cardiac event, many may experience transient but significant emotional disturbance during convalescence that we sometimes refer to as the ‘cardiac blues’.”
This makes looking after your heart even more important as it is linked with good mental health.
Steps to reduce heart disease
The Heart Foundation recommends the following steps to reduce the risk of developing heart disease:
- Get a Heart Health Check.
A new Medicare-funded heart health check is available to all Australians.
Those who are aged 45 or over (or 30 or over if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander), are urged to arrange one today.
Your doctor will look at a range of factors to do with your heart and will devise a plan to help you stay well.
- Be more active, more often.
It’s no secret that while the heart health benefits of exercise are known, many Australians don’t meet physical activity guidelines.
Try to be active on most days of the week, aiming for at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet.
A healthy eating pattern doesn’t focus on one type of food or one particular nutrient.
Heart-healthy eating is all about making healthy choices, consistently, over time.
A heart-healthy eating pattern is low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugar, and is rich in whole grains, fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fats.
- Quit smoking.
One of the major risks of heart disease is smoking. If you smoke, take action to quit smoking today!
For more information about Heart Health Checks, visit: heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/heart-health-checks.
Find out your risk of heart attack or stroke by using our Heart Age Calculator.
For heart health information and support, call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12. To find out about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit heartfoundation.org.au.