How to Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD), is referred to as all diseases and conditions involving the heart and blood vessels. The main types of CVD in Australia are; coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure/cardiomyopathy.

Statistics suggest one in six Australians is affected by cardiovascular disease, accounting for more than 4.2 million Australians. 4CVD prevalence increases with age, with 36% of Australians aged 55-64 reporting a long term CVD condition, increasing to 66% for Australians aged 75 and over.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Australia. There were 45,053 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2014. On average, one Australian dies as a result of CVD every 12 minutes. CVD accounted for nearly 30% of all deaths in Australia in 2014, including 28% for males and 31% for females.

CVD was the main cause for 480,548 hospitalisations in 2013/14.The number of hospital separations due to CVD has increased by 7% from 2003/04 to 2013/14.

For a developed nation like Australia these stats are alarming. Cardiovascular disease is one of Australia’s largest health problems and is in fact one of the biggest burdens on our economy.  Unfortunately this should not be case as cardiovascular disease is actually a preventable disease.

If a disease is preventable that means we have control of reducing it from happening through implemented measures.

Biggest burdens on our economy?

I feel as a nation we are not looking into the causes and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, instead we are trying to eliminate symptoms and fix a problem that initially, was never meant to happen.

The focus should be prevention, rather than fixing the problem when it’s become too late.  For example medication and surgical interventions are examples of dealing with cardiovascular disease, whereas eliminating, and reducing risk factors from our lifestyle are methods to help prevent CVD. The much cheaper and safer option would be to prevent it rather than fixing it.

How do we prevent?

First of all, it is important to consider where we are at in terms of our heart health. It is my personal opinion is that everyone should have at least one medical check up a year regardless of age, so the starting point would be to get a medical check done by a professional.

After you have received the diagnoses for your heart health, the next step would be to fix the problem. If you don’t have any heart related issues then start implementing ways to reduce risk factors so you can avoid cardiovascular disease in the future. If you have any heart health complications, begin or continue with appropriate treatment that is recommended by your doctor.

What are the risk factors?

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Low fruit and vegetable diet / high sugar and fat diet
  • Alcohol and smoking

How to reduce risk factors?

If you are smoking, then stop. If you do consume alcohol please do so responsibly where the intake is moderate (Check with your doctor on what is a moderate consumption).

Keep yourself active, avoid sedentary lifestyle. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day (Talk with your doctor about what types of activity is safe for you).

Avoid high salt, sugar and saturated fatty foods and increase intake of fruit and vegetables in your diet (Consult a doctor or a qualified nutritionist regarding this).

Your health should be your priority, set goals for your health, be aware and identify the risk factors affecting you. Talk to friends and family regarding heart disease, and help to bring awareness to the community. Let us reduce the burden of heart disease in our community.

If it is preventable then prevent it.

Avoid illness and practice wellness.

By Cheran Ruben (Chiropractor)


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011. Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011. Cardiovascular disease series. Cat. no. CVD 53. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of death 2014 (3303.0). March 2016.
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease— Australian facts: Morbidity–Hospital care. Cardiovascular, diabetes and chronic kidney disease series no. 3. Cat. no. CDK 3. Canberra: AIHW.
  4. Australian Bureau of Statisitics. Australian Health Survey 2014/2015.
  5. Berry, J.D, 2012. Lifetime Risks of Cardiovascular Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(4), 321-329.
  6. Begg S, Vos T, Barker B, Stevenson C, Stanley L, Lopez AD, 2007. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. PHE82.
  7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Health care expenditure on cardiovascular diseases 2008-09. Cardiovascular disease series . CVD