Victor Chang Institute Heart Health Tour - a nurse and a patient

How to improve your heart health check results

Tips on minimising your heart attack risk factors

So you've had your free Victor Chang Heart Health Check and the results explained to you - what's next? How do you improve your heart health and minimise those risk factors? While you can’t change some risk factors like family history, sex or age, there are many other ways you can reduce your chance of developing heart disease. Take a look at the pointers below to help you protect your heart.

Improve your blood sugar levels

Lowering your blood sugar levels

If your blood sugar levels were not in the healthy range and you were advised to reduce them, consider working on the following areas:

Improve your blood pressure results

Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure can damage the heart, brain and blood vessels. If your blood pressure was elevated or high, try:

  • Reducing your salt intake
  • Reducing your caffeine intake – maximum of 2-3 cups per day
  • De-stress – find time to relax, try meditation and yoga. Good quality sleep can also reduce your risk of heart attack, obesity and depression
  • Consult your GP about initiating blood pressure-lowering medication.
High Cholesterol - Tips on how to improve

Lower your cholesterol levels

When the levels of cholesterol in your blood are too high, it can build up in your arteries. This can narrow the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart muscle, brain and other vital organs. It can also lead to heart attack and stroke. The good news is, for every one percent decrease in your cholesterol, your risk of developing heart disease decreases by two percent.

To lower your cholesterol start by:

  • Increasing exercise levels. Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily
  • Increasing good fats in your diet, such as avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds
  • Eating a minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables daily
  • Reducing saturated fats, such as animal fats and dairy (e.g. cheese, butter)
  • Reducing trans fats intake such as cakes, pastries, deep-fried food, fast foods, fatty or sugary snack food
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Consult your doctor about starting cholesterol-lowering medication.

Remember, one of the best things you can do to protect your heart health is to quit smoking. If you are a non-smoker make sure you avoid second hand smoke. The risk of heart disease starts to decrease just one day after quitting. After a year without smoking, the risk of heart disease drops to half that of a smoker.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years