Calcium Score – Heart health statistics: Things you NEED to know if you’re over 45
Stroke and coronary heart disease are two of Australia’s biggest killers. Strokes kill more men than prostate cancer and more women die of stroke than breast cancer. Coronary heart disease was the leading cause of death in Australia in 2022.
Australians aged 45 and over have been identified as the high-risk demographic for quite some time, but a recent study has also found this age group to be alarmingly complacent when it comes to their heart health.
A poll of 1000 Australians within this age bracket believed they were much healthier than they were in reality. Over half the participants could not identify if they were overweight or obese and were unsure of their blood pressure, blood glucose or cholesterol levels.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when your brain is unable to obtain a sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients, caused by either a blood clot or brain bleed.
In 2020 alone, 27,428 Australians experienced a stroke for the first time; that’s one every 19 minutes.
These figures are concerning when you consider the fact that 80% of strokes are preventable. An active lifestyle and healthy diet, resulting in a healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.
What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease, or ischemic heart disease, is caused by narrowed arteries of the heart. When the heart’s arteries are narrowed, it limits the amount of blood and oxygen that reach the heart muscles, which can lead to a heart attack.
The good news is that 90% of heart disease is preventable and many of the risk factors of coronary heart disease and heart attack are manageable. Stopping smoking, increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, reducing alcohol intake, and being a healthy weight reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Knowing your risk allows you to reduce your risk!
One-fifth of Australians aged 45-74 have a high chance of having a heart attack or stroke, so what steps can be taken to prevent this?
The best way to prevent stroke or heart attack is to first know your risk.
There are some risk factors like sex, age and family history that cannot be changed, so it is paramount that heart health checks be conducted every two years as recommended by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Tests to determining your heart health
Part of this heart health check may include a CT Calcium Score test, which measures the amount of calcified plaque built up in your arteries. A CT Calcium Score test is a highly effective tool in determining your heart health, and the procedure is fast and non-invasive. It gives your doctor insights that a regular heart health check cannot, even before you have any symptoms. They are a great screening test for anyone over 45 years of age, or over 30 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Talk to your doctor about a Calcium score referral today and come visit one of our friendly clinics to find out your risk and what you can do to ensure your ongoing health.