August A5 Cardiac Health Recap

At our August A5, Wendy Mullooly – Clinical Nurse Consultant, Sutherland Hospital, shared extremely valuable information about Cardiac Health.

Prevalence of Heart Disease:

Heart Disease remains the number 1 killer of Australians – men and women.

This amounts to 55,000 heart attacks per year in Australia, or 150 per day or 1 every 10 minutes.

Great Advances:

Decrease in death rates due to:

  • Medications
  • Smoking reduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Reperfusion procedures

Weakest link:

Failure to act early

‘I wish I could have my heart attack again and I would do things differently’

Why do people delay:

  • Failure to identify as a heart problem
  • 1/3 of heart attacks present with chest pain
  • Australia only 14% within the hour
  • Often to GP first
  • 2nd heart attack different
  • False security – for example “I exercise regularly”, “I don’t smoke”, etc

Heart Attacks:

  • ‘Time is muscle’
  • Permanent heart muscle damage results if blood flow is not restored
  • Cardiac arrest may occur
  • Australia 100,000 presentations/year to hospital
  • 2,700 deaths in hospital and 30 days following BUT 7,000 deaths that don’t get to hospital

Heart Attack Symptoms:

„Pain, Pressure, Tightness or Discomfort can be felt in various parts of the body such as:

  • Chest
  • Upper arm
  • Shoulder
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Upper back

Warning Signs:

  • Angina symptoms which go with rest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheeziness
  • Indigestion / reflux
  • Ankle swelling
  • Irregular pulse, dizziness, faint
  • Walks, swims etc taking longer
  • Tiredness or feelings dismissed as ‘getting older’
  • Especially if related to exercise or during recovery

Action – See Your GP:

  • What results may depend on your family history, cardiac history, other medical issues
  • Refer to cardiologist
  • Stress test or stress echo
  • 24 hour ECG monitor
  • CT cardiac angiogram
  • ECG
  • Blood tests
  • Medications for BP and cholesterol (resistance)


  • Exercise 30min cardio / day
  • Weight / resistance work
  • Know what is normal for you exercising
  • Waist measurements-94cm males, 86cm females
  • BMI 19 to 25
  • Diet –fruit and veg, fish, fibre, nuts, low sat fats, reduce salt
  • Social interaction
  • Treat depression
  • Adhere to medications


45-60 year old men often:

  • Don’t have a GP (no need, never sick)
  • Work in own business or middle management and time poor, long hours
  • Too tired to exercise after work
  • Family commitments
  • Business lunches or eat on the run
  • Long periods of sitting – computers, car
  • Stress management – alcohol, smoking, comfort food


  • Annual check ups over 50 yrs and ‘know your numbers’
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Weight and waist measurements
  • Non smoker
  • Often signs precede a heart attack -Act on ‘Warning signs’
  • Heart attacks are an emergency – act early, call an ambulance, time is muscle