More than 70% of Australians are overweight or obese, and many have a blood pressure that’s too high to function normally.
“You can’t do everything yourself,” says Dr John Cuthbert, a cardiovascular surgeon at the University of Sydney’s Institute of Medicine.
Dr Cuthberts recent research found the best way to prevent heart attacks and stroke is to eat well and exercise.
The main advice is to stick to a low-calorie diet, which is low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
But Dr Cuthbett says it’s also important to get your cholesterol and triglycerides under control.
He recommends you limit alcohol and take some exercise, including brisk walks.
Healthy foods to eat include nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and dairy products.
Dr Cotterell says it is important to remember that your blood pressure will drop after you have an attack.
“If you have a major heart attack, you can expect to lose about 30-40 per cent of your blood volume,” he says.
“So the good news is that it will be much less painful, because you have less blood pressure to compensate for.”
Dr Cottell says the main thing to remember about the symptoms of an attack is to keep an eye on them and to take any treatment you need.
It is important you don’t stop the exercise, but don’t put your hand on your heart too much, he says, as it will worsen the condition.
Your GP can advise you how much exercise you can do, if you need to stop, and if you can still have regular blood pressure tests.