Community Hearts beating strong

HEALTH: Heart Foundation Public Health Registrar Kate Murton, Whyalla Deputy Mayor Phil Stone and McLeods Toyota General Manager Brad Smith.
HEALTH: Heart Foundation Public Health Registrar Kate Murton, Whyalla Deputy Mayor Phil Stone and McLeods Toyota General Manager Brad Smith.

The Heart Foundation Community Hearts team visited McLeods Toyota in Whyalla last week to carry out blood pressure and cholesterol measurements - the two leading risk factors for heart disease.

According to the Heart Foundation's Heart Maps, Whyalla is ranked in the top 15 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the State for having the highest cholesterol levels and sits within the top 20 LGAs for highest smoking and obesity rates.

Under the Community Hearts Project, the Community Hearts team, comprising staff and volunteers, is working in partnership with Toyota Australia and its South Australian dealerships, to carry out free blood pressure and cholesterol measurements.

Heart Foundation SA/NT Imelda Lynch said heart disease was 'largely preventable' through the management of risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol, not smoking, increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.

"We are encouraging the people of Whyalla to take action and improve the heart health of their community," she said.

The newly developed Community Hearts Project is designed to motivate people to visit their GP for a comprehensive Heart Health Check.

People aged 45 and above (30 and above for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) should visit their GP to determine their risk of heart disease and, if needed, begin early intervention in the hope of preventing a future heart attack or stroke.

"With the Medicare-funded Heart Health Check, your GP will make a comprehensive assessment of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking status along with other heart disease risk factors which include weight, diet and your family history," Ms Lynch said.

"The Community Hearts team will be measuring cholesterol and blood pressure, however, regardless of what the results show, everyone will still be encouraged to make that all-important appointment with their GP," she said.

Member for Giles Eddie Hughes is also encouraging local residents to have their blood pressure and cholesterol measurements assessed.

"Coronary heart disease is the single biggest killer in Australia," Mr Hughes said.

"Obesity, high cholesterol and smoking are risk factors in our community therefore, it is important for residents to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Community Hearts team while they are carrying out free tests in Whyalla," he said.

"It is hoped that the work of the Heart Foundation in Whyalla will motivate the community to begin a conversation with their GP about how they can reduce their risks of heart disease."