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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Delegates in Cairns push heart health

FORMER NRL player and heart attack survivor, Sam Backo, has joined the Health Minister and Cairns Senator Nita Green to encourage Queenslanders to book in their free Heart Health Check.

More than 4000 Queenslanders died from coronary heart disease in 2022, the third highest rate of heart disease deaths in the country, behind Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Since the Heart Health Check initiative was introduced nationally in 2019, more than 119,000 services have been delivered across the state.

Heart disease is responsible for almost 1 in 10 deaths and for 6 per cent of Australia’s total disease burden.

“In April I had my own heart attack, and this year ten of my friends have lost their lives to them and that’s why it is so important to get your free Heart Health Check,” Mr Backo said.

“I’d like to thank Minister Fentiman for being in Cairns to help shine a light on this important issue.”

Many Australians don’t know they are at risk of heart disease, as some factors – such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol – might not be noticeable without a medical assessment.

An assessment of a patient’s heart health with a general practitioner (GP) will help to identify the risk of heart attack or stroke in those patients who haven’t previously been diagnosed with heart disease.

The check takes less than 30 minutes with a GP and is the nation’s best tool for preventing heart disease.

GPs can then work with their patients to make changes to their lifestyle or prescribe medicines to lower any identified risk of heart disease.

Senator Green said talking to your GP and having a Heart Health Check saves lives and can help prevent or catch heart disease early so that patients and doctors can take action to reduce the risk before it’s too late.

“Heart disease is Australia’s biggest killer, so raising awareness for these Checks is crucial, and it is why the Federal Government has extended the Medicare rebate for heart health assessments,” she said.

“I implore all Queenslanders to get in for a Heart Health Check with their GP as soon as they’re eligible, and to get them regularly – because these simple checks can save lives.”

In the 2023-24 Budget, the Federal Government extended the Medicare rebate (items 177 and 699) for heart health assessment until 30 June 2025.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Car crime spree brought to an end and Calls to increase overtaking speed limit.

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