Everyone in the world has one. Your greatest friend, your worst enemy, they have one. Your brother has one, and the guy at the petrol station has one as well. They say the famous racehorse Phar Lap had a huge one, and that villains don’t have one at all. But if we didn’t have one, we’d all be dead. Can you guess what it is? That’s right, it’s a heart! An amazing muscular organ that keeps our body alive. At around the size of a fist, the human heart is responsible for pumping blood through the vessels of the circulatory system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the body. Every day, the average human heart beats about 100,000 times, pumping close to six litres of blood around the body.
The heart runs like a well-oiled engine, but what happens when the heart stops working as it should, and the machine starts breaking down? Shockingly, in Australia, one in every four deaths results from a heart related illness. Cardiovascular disease is the cause of 118 deaths each day in Australia alone, with males and Indigenous being at a higher risk of developing this devastating disease. One of the most common forms of heart related disease is Arrhythmia, which is when a fault occurs in the hearts pumping system, resulting in an irregular beat, either too fast, too slow, or skipping beats. There are a number of different types of arrhythmias, which have various levels of severity, and can range from being treated and maintained relatively easily, to being life threatening and in need of urgent attention. Symptoms of arrhythmia can include anxiety, chest pain, fatigue, fluttering or pounding chest, dizziness, racing or slow heartbeat when feeling at the wrist, and shortness of breath. It is important to know that some arrhythmias have no visible symptoms and may be picked up during a medical check-up.
World Heart Rhythm Week runs from June 6-12, aiming to work together to improve the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for all those affected by arrhythmias. This year’s theme is ‘Get to The Heart of Arrhythmias’, and there is a wealth of reliable information that may just help to save a life. Additionally, it is important for workplaces, schools and public spaces to consider investing in defibrillators, which can increase a patient’s chances of survival to more than 70%.
There are a number of things that Aussies can do to prevent the onset of heart disease, including increasing their physical activity and improving the quality of their diet. Sadly, for some people, there is a genetic link to heart disease that cannot be avoided. For those wanting to learn more about their genetic predisposition to heart diseases, including arrhythmia, EasyDNA Australia offers the Genetic Predisposition Test, which includes a test for atrial fibrillation, which is a type of heart arrhythmia. By looking at your DNA profile, this test will allow you to establish whether you have a genetic predisposition toward developing any one of 34 diseases and conditions including arrhythmia, whether you are at high risk for developing a particular disease, and your estimated lifetime risk compared to the average population. This test will be able you take control of the future of your health, knowing you are at risk will enable you to take the necessary steps in order to prevent the onset heart disease and arrhythmia.
So, don’t let your heart skip a beat this Heart Rhythm Week, take charge of your heart health and add years to your life.