Heart attacks high in region

RISK FACTORS: Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking and weight all factor as risks for heart attacks.
RISK FACTORS: Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking and weight all factor as risks for heart attacks. Iain Curry

THE South Burnett is more than 10 points higher than the Queensland average for heart health admissions and hospitalisations.

Heart Foundation health director for Queensland Rachelle Foreman said a variety of factors were involved as to why the South Burnett alongside other regional Queensland areas' heart health was worse than metro areas.

The average rates of admissions or hospitalisations per 10,000 people in Queensland is 61.8.

In the South Burnett it is 77.7.

"Queensland is the second worst in the country behind the Northern Territory and had 12 of the worst spots in the country,” Ms Foreman said.

"Rates are higher in regional areas because there are higher rates of obesity, physical inactivity and smoking that all contribute to heart disease.

"There might be a lack of access to good primary care or people think it's too expensive, those are barriers to access,” she said.

Ms Foreman said the best way to prevent heart attacks was to be aware of the warning signs, get cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly and make lifestyle changes for better heart health.

"There is an environmental aspect, access to infrastructure for physical activity, fresh healthy food that's affordable, although that shouldn't be a problem in a farming region like the South Burnett,” she said.

"Or what they consider to be normal weight and exercise behaviours based on what everyone else is doing, or what their weight is, when that might not be the case.”

A Heart Research Australia study had found an increase in young patients having heart attacks with no obvious risk factors.

"It happens in young people for two key reasons, one is an unknown genetic predisposition they don't know they have, if a first degree relative has a heart attack under 65 you might also have a genetic predisposition or an abnormal heart rhythm can cause cardiac arrests,” Ms Foreman said.

"Another reason is genetically high cholesterol, despite lifestyle, they might have high cholesterol that can't be managed with just lifestyle changes.

"It's like an iceberg, you may not have the symptoms overtly.”

Topics:  health heart attacks high south burnett

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