Australians need to grow their awareness of heart disease – particularly women, who are more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer, a fact which isn’t widely known according to Michelle Kearney, spokesperson for RedFeb.
RedFeb is a campaign promoting a heart-healthy lifestyle, and is set to help encourage all Australians to be more active and make their heart health a priority this February, Heart Research Month.
“Cancer organisations have done an excellent job raising the profile of breast cancer and all women should continue to be vigilant in understanding this disease,” says Ms Kearney.
“Heart Research Australia encourages women to be just as vigilant in looking after their heart health. Heart disease can be largely prevented, just by being aware of the risk factors, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high glucose, and smoking, being overweight and physically inactive.
“Most people don’t know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, with heart attacks claiming on average 25 people a day.
“The future of our health lies heavily on the shoulders of medical researchers, who all have one common goal – to reduce the incidence and devastating impact current diseases have on our society as well as securing the future generation from being impacted.
“Community pharmacies can help support organisations such as Heart Research Australia by supporting fundraising campaigns like REDFEB, by getting their staff and clientele involved by either participating in a REDFEB Relay, Challenge or even Fundraising activity. All activities are supported by heart health information from Heart Research Australia, thereby adding a serious message to a fun activity.”
She says Heart Research Australia funds first-stage “out of the notebook” research that may never progress to clinical trials without the help of the foundation.
“The research Heart Research Australia funds, through the help of the Australian private and corporate sector, has already had positive results in the treatment of heart disease,” she says.
“For example one research project enabled life-saving technology and procedures to be put in place that reduced heart attack deaths at Royal North Shore Hospital from a staggering 30% to 2%.
“While successes such as these are extremely pleasing, more needs to be done.
“It is only through continued research into the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of heart disease that we can reduce these appalling statistics and prevent others from experiencing the trauma of losing a loved one.”
Events to be held during RedFeb include a RedFeb Relay, raising funds via the Every Day Hero page and ultimately lapping the map of Australia; a RedFeb Challenge, where Australians are encouraged to make a change towards being heart-healthy; and National Wear Red Day on 6 February, where schools and workplaces can encourage people to wear red and donate a gold coin.