February 9, 2023

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Victor Chang Cardiac Research: Experts reveal vital heart health tips

4 min read

The three life-saving heart health tips you need to know in 2023 – including the type of salt you MUST buy at the supermarket

  • Heart experts have revealed the most important tips to improve heart health
  • The life saving tips include swapping salt, healthy sleep and avoiding cholesterol
  • These tips can drastically reduce the chances of contracting heart disease

Heart health experts have revealed the three lifestyle changes that could save your life if taken on board in 2023 – including getting checked for a ‘new’ type of cholesterol.

Australians are urged to get more sleep, swap regular salt for potassium-enriched salt, and consider undergoing a blood test for a new ‘bad’ cholesterol marker.

The vital advice could prevent the development of heart disease, which is currently the leading cause of death in Australia.

Experts from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute say the life saving tips are easy to follow, research suggests lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 per cent. 

Heart health experts have revealed the three lifestyle changes that could save your life if taken on board in 2023

Australians are urged to get more sleep and swap regular salt for potassium-enriched salt (pictured)

It is also recommended undergoing a blood test for a new 'bad' cholesterol marker. Cholesterol can be caused by genetics, poor diet, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise

Australians are urged to get more sleep, swap regular salt for potassium-enriched salt (left), and consider undergoing a blood test for a new ‘bad’ cholesterol marker. Cholesterol can be caused by genetics, poor diet, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise

Getting a good night’s sleep

New research indicates adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night to keep their hearts healthy, however, approximately a third of all Australians do not get enough sleep.

The American Heart Association has just added healthy sleep as an essential tool for maintaining good heart health, along with not smoking, exercising, and a healthy diet. 

‘The evidence is very clear – poor sleep health is linked to heart disease,’ Professor Jason Kovacic of the Victor Chang Institute said.

‘A lack of sleep (less than 7 hours), or too much sleep (more than 9 hours for healthy adults), raises the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.’ 

The American Heart Association's essential eight tips for heart health include healthy sleep, not smoking, exercising, and a healthy diet

The American Heart Association’s essential eight tips for heart health include healthy sleep, not smoking, exercising, and a healthy diet

Swap the salt

Experts recommend replacing regular salt for potassium-enriched salt which can be bought in Coles and Woolworths for about $3

Experts recommend replacing regular salt for potassium-enriched salt which can be bought in Coles and Woolworths for about $3

Experts recommend replacing regular salt for potassium-enriched salt, as potassium has a significant effect on reducing blood pressure. 

A study by The George Institute for Global Health demonstrated a significant reduction in rates of stroke, heart attack, and death in people who replaced their regular table salt with a reduced-sodium, added-potassium “salt substitute”.

‘This simple switch really could make a difference to our heart health,’ Professor Kovacic said.

‘While most of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy, any change we can make at home to our everyday cooking could help keep our blood pressure in a healthy range.’

The cardiologist believes this is one of the easiest changes to make as ‘there is no discernible taste difference’ between the salts. 

A new marker of ‘bad’ cholesterol

Experts have always warned against a bad type of cholesterol called LDL, but there is another type we should also have on our radar called Lipoprotein(a). 

Lipoprotein(a) is more associated with genetics rather than lifestyle choices, and is now known to be a cause of atherosclerosis – a major source of heart disease.

High levels of the cholesterol can be picked up in a blood test ordered by your GP and should be undertaken by anyone with a family history of heart disease or by anyone who has had heart disease or stroke at an earlier age than normal.

‘This is not a test everyone should be having but if you suspect heart disease runs in your family, or if you are a male below 55 or a woman below 60 with cardiovascular disease then this test can determine if Lp(a) might be part of the cause,’ Professor Kovacic said.

Experts have always warned against a bad type of cholesterol called LDL, but there is another type we should also have on our radar called Lipoprotein(a)

Experts have always warned against a bad type of cholesterol called LDL, but there is another type we should also have on our radar called Lipoprotein(a)

Three ways to protect your heart health in 2023:

1.  Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

2.  Replace regular salt for potassium-enriched salt, as potassium has a significant effect on reducing blood pressure.

3.  Get a blood tests for Lipoprotein(a) if you suspect heart disease runs in your family, or if you are a male below 55 or a woman below 60 with cardiovascular disease.

Source: Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

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