18/07/2006 - 22:00

Not For Profit: Timely warning taken to heart

18/07/2006 - 22:00

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Western Australian State Library chief executive Margaret Allen is living proof that a heart attack can strike anyone at any time, and that early intervention can minimise the risks of an attack.

Western Australian State Library chief executive Margaret Allen is living proof that a heart attack can strike anyone at any time, and that early intervention can minimise the risks of an attack.

Ms Allen has never smoked, suffered from high blood pressure or been overweight, and yet in October of 2002 she woke up feeling unwell and within hours found herself in hospital having major surgery to have a stent inserted in her heart.

Hospital tests revealed that she had suffered a heart attack and the breathing trouble, coughing, fatigue, chills and clamminess she had experienced that morning were signs her heart was failing.

After surgery, she took six weeks off work to recover and still takes medication to thin her blood.

“I could have just decided to ignore how I felt and stayed in bed hoping it would go away by itself, but I didn’t,” Ms Allen said.

“It’s important that women know what’s going on in their bodies. In the case of heart problems this is especially important, as the earlier a heart problem is treated the less chance there is of your heart sustaining long-term damage.”

Since her heart attack Ms Allen is much more aware of what she eats and tries to make time for regular exercise.

In August, the Heart Foundation is holding its annual Climb to the Top fundraising challenge, which encourages people to take responsibility for their health and reduce their risk of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease – including heart, stroke and blood vessel disease – is the leading cause of death and disability in Australia, with 25,000 deaths nationally each year.

Heart Foundation director of cardiovascular health Trevor Shilton said physical activity was essential in keeping a healthy heart, with just 30 minutes or more of moderate activity a day decreasing the risk of heart disease by up to half.

“Climb to The top is an easy and fun way for people to get started on the track to a healthy lifestyle while at work and demonstrates that keeping fit can be easily incorporated into your daily routine,” Mr Shilton told WA Business News.

In last year’s event, more than 6,000 Western Australians climbed more than 1.5 million stairs.

Participants can also walk, swim or cycle.

Companies or individuals must register with the Heart Foundation by July 21 to be in the running to win adventure holidays and vouchers for some quality outdoor gear.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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