Wear red and stop Australia's number one killer

Heart disease: the odds are stacked against regional Australians

Life & Style
Catherine Lloyd believes her fathers heart attack death could have been prevented with more information.

Catherine Lloyd believes her fathers heart attack death could have been prevented with more information.

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REDFEB information campaign to prevent heart attack deaths.

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Heart disease is Australia's number one killer, taking twenty Australian lives everyday.

The diseases killer consequences are something Catherine Lloyd knows all too well.

Her father complained of chest pain after a beef cattle sale in Chinchilla, and drove past the hospital on his way home. Too concerned to have a shower after a hard day's work, her father wasted the only thing that matters when suffering a heart attack. Time.

Ms Lloyd said that despite losing four siblings to heart disease, her father never thought it could happen to him.

"People think that heart attacks will never happen to them, he had three brothers and a sister die before him and still didn't think it could happen to him," she said.

"He made his bed before the ambulance came, he couldn't leave the house without having his bed made."

Her fathers death was more than twenty years ago, Ms Lloyd said that if it were to happen today, her father would still be alive.

"There's so much information around now, there's no excuse to have a heart attack today," she said.

"Just having a conversation makes you more aware, these discussions make you more likely to go to the doctor and get checked out. "

Ms Lloyd said there's no time "to be a man" when suffering a heart attack.

"My ex-husband Ray had a heart attack in August last year, and being a man he didn't do anything about it," she said.

"We were speaking on the phone and he was complaining of pains in chest, so I rang triple 000."

"He was refusing to go to the hospital because he started to feel better."

The phone call to 000 ultimately saved his life, Ms Lloyd said that both her ex-husband and father suffered from having a "farmer mentality".

"Farmers think they're invincible. The more I told him to go see a doctor, the more he dug his heels in."

Heart Research Australia has launched its annual month-long campaign REDFEB to provide Australians with more information on the deadly disease. Ms Lloyd said education is the only way to stop people being complacent with their heart health.

"Information is the only thing that helps, you'll still get the stubborn ones but that will continue to go away."

REDFEB campaign encourages people to wear red and make heart health a discussion.

REDFEB campaign encourages people to wear red and make heart health a discussion.

The REDFEB campaign encourages people to donate and wear red for social media to spread awareness and begin conversations around heart health.

Key to this year's REDFEB campaign is the Heart Smart Pocket Guide; a foldout booklet, providing crucial 'what to do' details that could save thousands of Australian lives.

The Heart Smart Pocket Guide is free to every Australian.

The Heart Smart Pocket Guide is free to every Australian.

Heart Research Australia CEO , Nicci Dent, said knowing what to do is vital when someone is suffering a heart attack.

"Everyone should know how to recognise a heart attack for two very good reasons. Firstly, the odds are high that either you or someone you love will suffer from a heart attack during your lifetime. Secondly, whether you survive that heart attack can depend on what you and your doctors do about it during the first few hours," she said.

Ms Dent said Australian's living in rural and regional towns face more challenges when dealing with heart disease, with limited medical accessibility affecting their response.

"People in rural situations do have potentially worse outcomes because of the access to quick health care," she said.

"The most important thing for someone suffering a heart attack is time."

Ms Dent said that heart attack sufferers don't always appreciate the seriousness of an attack.

"The common thing for people to do is just ignore the heart attack, but heart attacks don't go away," she said.

"If you delay your response, part of your heart muscle can die. There's nothing we can do to fix that."

While chest pain is the classic symptom of a heart attack, other kinds of symptoms can occur in addition to, or instead of, chest discomfort. These may include:

  • sweating,
  • shortness of breath
  • pain in the jaw, neck, shoulders, or arms
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • indigestion or heartburn-like symptoms
  • Suddenly feeling dizzy, weak, faint, light-headed

To get your own pocket guide on the signs and symptoms of a heart attack as well as an action plan visit heartresearch.com.au/heartattack

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