Port Augusta residents at serious risk of coronary heart disease

Heart Foundation Research and Translation Manager Dr Natasha Schranz with Mayor Brett Benbow during a visit to Port Augusta.
Heart Foundation Research and Translation Manager Dr Natasha Schranz with Mayor Brett Benbow during a visit to Port Augusta.

Port Augusta has ranked fourth highest of Local Government Areas in South Australia for deaths from coronary heart disease.

The city also ranks in the top 20 worst for obesity and has some of the highest rates of smoking in the state.

The Heart Foundation Community Hearts team, in partnership with Toyota, has been travelling to regional towns across South Australia to conduct blood pressure and cholesterol measurements.

Heart Foundation Heart Health Manager SA Dr Marie Ludlow said the newly developed Community Hearts Project is designed to motivate people to visit their GP for a comprehensive Heart Health Check.

"With the Medicare-funded Heart Health Check, your GP will make a full, comprehensive assessment of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking status along with other heart disease risk factors such as weight, diet, your family history and so on," Dr Ludlow said.

"Up to 70 per cent of its residents are not meeting the minimal physical activity standard of exercising for 30 minutes per day.

"This is of great concern, as exercise has a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol and is important for overall health and wellbeing."

All people aged 45 and above (30 and above for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) should visit their GP to determine their risk of heart disease and if needed, begin early intervention in the hope of preventing a future heart attack or stroke

Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow recently had his blood pressure and cholesterol measurements taken by the visiting team in an effort to spark community conversation about risk reduction.

"Heart disease is the single biggest killer in Australia and in Port Augusta, the figures for the risk factors for this silent killer are quite high," he said.

"This should serve to put our residents on notice to look after their heart health and visit their GP to get their Heart Health Check."