Prevention is key to stopping heart attacks

Prevention is key to stopping heart attacks

Russell Masnyk, Arche Health Heartbeat program coordinator Suellen Althaus and Mary Plant during a workout. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

With 55,000 Australians suffering a heart attack annually, Canning residents are being warned to look after their hearts.

Suellen Althaus sees the impact heart attacks and cardiovascular disease can have on people and highlighted the need for education and prevention of it in the lead up to Heart Week from May 1 to 7.

Ms Althaus is the coordinator of Arche Health’s Heartbeat program.

Based in Bentley and other southeastern suburbs, the free program aims to teach people with heart conditions or those at risk about how to prevent, rehabilitate and manage problems through activities and exercise.

Ms Althaus said while they did get a lot of patients who have experienced heart disease they also had a lot who wanted to learn how to prevent it.

“To prevent is really important, there are high numbers of people in Australia that get heart disease and it’s preventable,” she said.

“A lot of heart disease can be reduced just by changing lifestyles.

“Going to a heart management program is good for people that already have an existing heart condition to help prevent them from going back into hospital and being readmitted.

“That also takes the pressure off the health system if people are better managing or preventing a heart condition.”

In the program patients learn about nutrition, medications, physical activity, heart disease and how the heart functions.

They also try specially designed exercises for people who suffer heart conditions, which improve cardiovascular fitness, strength and balance.

“We get a lot of positive feedback and people do improve their health,” she said.

“They may not drop weight but they do drop their blood pressure or cholesterol.”

Nationally during this year’s Heart Week the Heart Foundation will talk about how attending a cardiac rehabilitation program after a heart attack is a critical first step in a person’s recovery.

It is also the best way to help prevent having another one.

Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said less than one in three heart attack survivors attend a cardiac rehabilitation class, even though it could save their life.

“We know many people aren’t referred to or don’t attend a program, leaving them at real risk of having another heart attack,” he said.

“Cardiac rehabilitation helps people get back on their feet and return to living an active and satisfying life after their heart event, both physically and emotionally.

“Thanks to advances in heart treatment and care, more people are surviving their heart attack than ever before, which is why cardiac rehabilitation programs are more important than ever.

“We want people to think about cardiac rehab as an investment in their future.”
Heart attacks are the single biggest killer of Australians every year, claiming the life of one person every hour and costing the health system $30,700 per attack.

One in three heart attacks are repeat attacks and one in five people who have had a heart attack will have another within 12 months.

To find a program call 1300 362 787, for more about Arche Health’s Heartbeat program call Ms Althaus or Victoria Bago on 9458 0594.