Ten Things You Need To Know About Cardiovascular Health

Ten Things You Need To Know About Cardiovascular Health


Have you thought about your heart health lately?  Here are ten things everyone should know.

1. The definition of cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular health refers to the state of a person’s heart and blood vessels.

2. CVD is Australia’s most costly disease. Cardiovascular Disease, or CVD, is the disease of the heart and blood vessels and in Australia it is our most costly disease. With our ageing population and the continual rise of obesity, the prevalence of CVD is expected to rise in the coming years.  One Australian dies from CVD every twelve minutes.

3. There are three types of CVD: Stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure.

Stroke:  Blood is carried to the brain by arteries.  A stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is stopped, either by a blood clot in an artery or when an artery bursts.

Coronary heart disease: Coronary arteries are those which supply and surround the heart. Coronary heart disease is “when your coronary arteries get narrower and reduce the blood flow to the heart” (Heart Foundation, 2018).  This type of CVD typically becomes worse over a longer period of time and eventually results in a heart attack or stroke.

Heart failure: Heart failure is when your heart muscle becomes damaged and can’t function as it should.

  1. A healthy heart relies on multiple factors. Maintaining a healthy heart involves good health in all aspects of your lifestyle. So you should:

Not take up smoking and if you are, stop immediately

Manage your blood pressure so that it is at a healthy level

Manage your cholesterol to a healthy level

If you suffer from diabetes, manage it accordingly

Get to and maintain a healthy weight

Be physically active

Manage your mental health

Enjoy a variety of nutritious food

  1. Cardiovascular disease does not just affect men. The majority of people are under the impression that men are more likely to suffer from CVD but the fact is that coronary heart disease causes more deaths for females than males. It can affect people at any age but is more likely to occur as we age.  Females are most likely to be affected after they have gone through menopause.
  1. No one is immune from cardiovascular issues. Everyone can be affected by CVD but healthy individuals are less likely to contract the disease. If fit and healthy people do suffer from CVD, their case is usually less severe and occurs at a later age than those who are not.
  1. Regular exercise is key. Regular, moderate exercise will always aid in the prevention of CVD – it is never too late to be active for your heart health.  Look for ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, whether: cycling to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or moving around in your office job to avoid being too sedentary.
  1. Certain foods are particularly good for heart health. A varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes, oily fish and other good fats are best for heart health.  Any foods which reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow are good for your heart:  salmon, dark chocolate, leafy greens, almonds, blueberries, oats, olive oil.

While there has been lots of debate of recent about whether saturated fat is a culprit in heart health, new research states that “the entire nutrient composition of a food may be more important than concentrating solely on the type of fat it contains.” (Nutrition Australia, 2008).  In other words, if the choice is between a processed food with less fat, and a whole food with more saturated fat, the whole food is the better option regardless of the fat content.

  1. Certain drinks are good for your heart too. Many sources cited that green tea, coffee and red wine, in moderation, are also beneficial to the health of your heart. The National Heart Foundation of Australia does not recommend drinking coffee as a means of preventing CVD.  However, they say it is acceptable to drink it as part of a balanced diet.
  1. Know the symptoms of stroke and heart attack. While we can take on all the information above and use it to ensure our heart and blood vessels have the best chance at optimum health, there is no guarantee that CVD will never strike us or someone we love.  So perhaps one of the most important part of your heart health education is to make yourself familiar with the symptoms of stroke and heart attacks.


Familiarise yourself with the acronym FAST to recognise the symptoms of stroke.

Face: check the face of the person.  Has their mouth dropped?

Arms: can they raise both of their arms?

Speech: Is their speech slurred and can they understand you?

Time: act quickly if you have seen any of these signs and call 000 immediately.

Heart Attack

Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person.  Some may have just one symptom and others may have a combination.  The Heart Foundation refers to all of the following: back, shoulder, arm, chest, neck pain; as well as, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, or feeling ‘not quite right’.

These symptoms can begin suddenly, usually lasting about ten minutes and are severe or get progressively worse. Act immediately by calling 000 for an ambulance. It may save a life.

Cardiovascular Disease is Australia’s biggest killer and does not discriminate. Give yourself the optimal chance of avoiding CVD by:

eating a balanced diet

exercising regularly

maintaining a healthy weight

not smoking

managing cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure

managing your mental health

educating yourself and others on heart health and the symptoms of strokes and heart attacks


Dairy Australia as cited by Nutrition Australia (January, 2008). Cardiovascular Health.

Retrieved from www.nutritionaustralia.org

Gardener, A. for Health (13/2/2017.) 18 Superfoods For Your Heart Health.

Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20720182,00.html#heart-healthy-foods

Hastings, D.  for Prevention (1/2/2008) The 25 Best Foods For Your Heart.

Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/health/best-foods-for-heart-health

Jean Hailes: For Women’s Health (15/1/2014). About Cardiovascular Disease.

Retrieved from https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/cardiovascular-health/about-cardiovascular-disease

Jennings, L for Web MD (2015) Top Heart-Healthy Foods:Best Foods For Cardiovascular Health.

Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/11-top-heart-healthy-foods#1

Myers, J. for Circulation Journal (7/1/2003). Exercise and Cardiovascular Health.

Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2

National Heart Foundation of Australia.  Heart Healthy Eating Tips and What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Retrieved from https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/heart-healthy-eating-tips and https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-conditions/what-is-coronary-heart-disease

Jennings, L for Web MD (2015) Top Heart-Healthy Foods:Best Foods For Cardiovascular Health.

Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/11-top-heart-healthy-foods#1

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