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Cardiovascular Disease

According to the Australian Heart Foundation, every day, 98 Australian men have a heart attack; 1 in 7 of these men will die. Women also are at risk, and are almost three times more likely to die of it than breast cancer (www.heartfoundation.org.au) CV disease is the biggest killer in Australia, accounting for 31% of all deaths in 2011.

What is CV disease?
Cardiovascular disease includes heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart failure and angina.

How does it develop?
CV disease develops due to a large number of risk factors, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Smoking

Eligible personal can receive treatments under the Chronic Disease Management scheme allowing them five visits to an allied health professional Bulk Billed with Medicar.
Nine in 10 adult Australians have at least one risk factor for CVD and one in four (25%) have three or more risk factors (www.heartfoundation.org.au)

How does exercise help?
Exercise has numerous benefits in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease such as:

  • Reducing body fat
  • Reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Increasing HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving physical fitness

Current recommendations are for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week (equivalent to 30 mins a day) of an activity such as walking, cycling or swimming. In fact, research demonstrates that in healthy adults (without heart disease), the risk of death is 4.5 times greater in the least fit compared to the most fit (ahajournals.org)

How to begin exercise
If you have, or suspect you may have, or have risk factors for any type of heart disease, you should consult a doctor and Accredited Exercise Physiologist prior to commencing an exercise program. Otherwise, the following general guidelines can help you get started.

  • Aim to start with a manageable duration of exercise each day for the first week. Be consistent. This may only be around 10 minutes of walking initially, but as your fitness improves, you will be able to go for longer.
  • Gradually build this up by 10% per week until you reach the recommended 30 minutes per day, every day.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a day off every now and then if you are sick, sore or injured. As long as this doesn’t become a regular habit.
  • Soon enough going out for your regular exercise will become a habit and you will never know how you lived without it.

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