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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Jun-Jul
Active RetireesTM | 31 HEALTH Your heart is the most important and hardworking muscle in your body, beating more than 2.5 billion times in the average lifetime. While a healthy heart keeps you alive, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia for both men and women. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that in 2008, 23,665 Aussies died of the condition – 12,444 men and 11,221 women. Four times as many men die from heart disease as from prostate cancer, and five times as many women die from it as from breast cancer. Heart disease is when the coronary arteries (the ones leading to and from the heart) become narrow or blocked. This happens when fatty deposits called plaque stick to them, essentially causing traffic jams in Take heart health into your own hands and your whole body will thank you. By Simone McClenaughan blood flow, which can result in a heart attack. Heart disease can be a consequence of lifestyle factors such as poor diet, inactivity, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, but a family history of the disease also plays a part. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 90 per cent of Australians have at least one risk factor and, regardless of age, most are likely to have two risk factors. Chief Medical Adviser to the Heart Foundation Professor James Tatoulis explains that it’s important to look after your heart health as you age. “As your age increases, so does your risk of developing coronary heart disease. Age is one of the risk factors of heart disease you cannot change.” Heart food A poor diet is another major risk factor for heart disease, but with a little tweaking, your diet can become your heart’s best friend. Accredited practising dietitian Melanie McGrice is from Health Kick Nutrition and Dietetics and is a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. She specialises in diet for heart health and ageing. » 1 Maintain a healthy weight. A BMI between 18.5-25 is ideal, or a waist measurement smaller than 80cm for women and 94cm for men. 2 Exercise regularly. People who don’t exercise are twice as likely to develop heart disease. 3 Eat a balanced diet, low in saturated fat and sodium. 4 Ensure your blood pressure is around 120/80. 5 Aim to keep your cholesterol levels low, ideally no higher than 4.5mmol/L in total. McGrice says this should be less than 2.0mmol/L of LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) and over 1.0mmol/L HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ cholesterol that helps remove ‘bad’ cholesterol). 6 Butt out. Smokers are six times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. 7 Find out the health history of your family. 8 Have regular check-ups with your GP. 9 Drink no more than two standard drinks of alcohol a day. 10 Work on reducing your stress levels. Source: www.heartfoundation.org.au TOP 10 Around 90 per cent of Australians have at least one risk factor and, regardless of age, most are likely to have two risk factors. Under the pump
Active Retirees Aug-Sept