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29 June, 2021

Mackay a heartbreaker

THE latest data from the Heart Foundation targets Mackay as Queensland’s unhealthy heart hot spot, with a mortality rate of 76 per 100,000 people.

This statistic is 16 percent higher than the national average of 66 per 1000,000 people, with Mackay ranked higher for several heart disease risk factors.

Heart Foundation Queensland heart health manager and associate professor Anna Lewis said high rates of heart disease deaths, hospitalisations and risk factors were found in disadvantaged regional Queensland groups.

She said heart health can be influenced by factors such as education, employment, adequate housing and access to health services, decent food and exercise.

“There are usually no obvious signs or symptoms that you have it, but it increases your risks of heart attack and stroke,” she said.

“It can also lead to developing heart disease and other chronic illnesses like type two diabetes.”

The data shows 23 percent of Mackay residents have high blood pressure, while 72 percent are physically inactive. Eighteen 18 percent smoke and 37 percent are obese.

The data revealed heart-related hospital admissions is 59 per 10,000 people, which is significantly higher than the national average of 43 per 10,000.

One indicator for poor heart health is high cholesterol, which is described as a silent killer among Queenslanders and can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

A risk of high cholesterol and poor heart health can be lowered by swapping saturated fats for healthier fats like nuts and plant- based oils.

“Foods fortified with plant sterols, like some breakfast cereals, can also assist in lowering cholesterol levels,” Ms Lewis said.

“For people with high cholesterol or heart disease, we recommend choosing reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese and eating fewer than seven eggs per week.

“It’s also important for heart health to quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and maintain a healthy- body weight.

“Get the heart pumping by being active at least 30 minutes most days as it can help control your cholesterol levels.”

Mackay residents aged 45 or over were urged to talk to a General Practitioner (GP) about their heart health, while indigenous Australians aged over 30 should see their GP.

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