Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.
Today Charity Auction co-ordinator, Enisa Hasic talks to us about Heart Health.
In Australia, which disease is statistically the number 1 killer of women every year? When asked this question, the majority of women will reply, ‘Cancer’, predominantly Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer. While it’s true that cancer does kill many, many women, the number 1 killer in this country is heart disease.
Yes, the same disease with the dubious honour of statistically being the number 1 killer of men here each year.
What is heart disease?
It is a term used to encompass many conditions affecting the heart. Your heart is a beating muscle about the size of your clenched fist situated in the front and slightly left of the middle of your chest behind your breastbone. Through a series of vessels your heart pumps blood repeatedly to the rest of your body.
Heart conditions include:
- Heart Attack – due to coronary heart disease, when an artery supplying blood to your heart suddenly blocks completely some of your heart muscle begins to die. Without medical treatment this can be fatal.
- High Blood Pressure (or Hypertension) – increased pressure of the blood in your arteries as the heart pumps it around your body, can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, aortic rupture.
- Coronary Heart Disease – the clogging of coronary arteries by the gradual deposit of fat on the inner wall leading to reduced blood flow to the heart. It is the most common cause of death and disability in Australia.
- Heart Failure – occurs when your heart muscle weakens and fails to pump blood effectively. This causes blood and fluid build up.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis – a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in your leg, caused by injury, surgery or long periods of inactivity.
- Palpitations – an awareness of your heartbeat.
- Atrial Fibrillation – when your heart beats abnormally due to a disturbance in your heart’s electrical system.
- Angina – chest pain or discomfort due to insufficient blood flow and oxygen to your heart muscle caused by an underlying heart problem.
- Coronary Artery Spasm – a temporary spasm in a coronary artery resulting in temporary discomfort or pain.
- Familial Hypercholesterolaemia – Inherited condition where your body fails to remove sufficient cholesterol from your blood. This leads to high blood cholesterol levels and early onset of coronary heart disease.
These conditions can be triggered by a multitude of causes including smoking, diabetes, high blood cholesterol or being overweight.
So what can we do to reduce the risk of heart disease?
To reduce your risk and prevent developing a heart condition doctors advise women (and men) to:
- quit smoking,
- eat healthily,
- reduce salt intake,
- maintain a healthy body weight,
- limit alcohol intake and
- exercise regularly.
Heart disease often has no symptoms, and for this reason, like many other diseases, it is known as ‘the silent killer’. Because of this it is vital to have regular medical checks.
The Heart Foundation is determined to reduce the impact of heart disease in Australia. Their website states they ‘fund cardiovascular research, support health professionals in their practice, develop health promotion activities, inform and educate the public and assist people with cardiovascular disease’ to ensure fewer people live with or die from the disease.
Sunday 19th August is “Wear Red For Your Heart” day, as we support the vital work of the Heart Foundation. The Silent Auction to be held at RWA’s 2012 ‘Diamonds are Forever’ Conference will benefit not only the Heart Foundation in its quest for Australians to have the best cardiovascular health in the world but will also help raise the awareness of this disease in women and encourage women to be as vigilant in looking after our heart health as we are in keeping check of our bodies for signs of cancer.
And through our new awareness, we can help spread the word about the devastating effects of this disease to other women around the country, thus helping make the Heart Foundation’s vision of good heart health in women a reality.
Thank you, Enisa.
To donate an item to the Silent Auction, please email Enisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.