The HPA has been working with the Ministry of Health, the Heart Foundation, Diabetes New Zealand, and interested PHOs to increase the number of heart and diabetes checks that are undertaken.
Ten facts about heart disease and diabetes
- Heart disease and diabetes kill more than 6,000 New Zealanders a year.
- One New Zealander dies every 90 minutes from heart disease (16 deaths a day). Many of these deaths are premature and preventable.
- About 16,000 people each year are admitted to hospital with a heart attack and about 6,000 people will have a stroke.
- Diabetes is a major and increasing cause of disability and premature death in New Zealand. It is a chronic condition that can cause kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.
- More than 225,000 people in New Zealand have diabetes (mostly type 2) and those with type 2 diabetes have a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease.
- There is a strong link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease with these two conditions co-existing:
- People with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer from heart disease.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Risk factors for heart disease include age, ethnicity, smoking, poor diet, family history and lack of exercise. Obesity is a common risk factor for heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
- Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, family history and people that don’t produce enough insulin (or the cells in the body don’t recognise the insulin) - this combined with obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and an ageing population means the risk of developing diabetes is even higher.
What does HPA do?
HPA’s work will:
- increase awareness of the need for more heart and diabetes checks
- encourage people to ask their doctor or nurse about a heart and diabetes check
- help meet the national health target of 90% of the eligible population having a heart or diabetes check in the last five years by 1 July 2014 (60% by 1 July 2012, 75% by 1 July 2013).
- Maori, Pacific and South Asian males 35 and over.
- All other ethnic groups of males 45 and over.
- Maori, Pacific and South Asian and females 45 and over.
- All other ethnic groups of females 55 and over.
Be there for your team
Ex-All Black Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford is working with HPA to promote the important ‘Get a heart and diabetes check’ message.
What is a heart and diabetes check?
A heart and diabetes check works out your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years. It also tells you if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes (where you blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but bot high enought to be called diabetes).
It will let you know what your risk is and, more importantly, give you the chance to talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to improve your heart health and lead a healthier life.
Your doctor or nurse will:
- ask about your risk factors such as smoking, exercise and diet
- ask if there is any family history of heart attack, stroke or diabetes
- measure your blood pressure, height, weight and waist
- test your cholesterol and blood glucose levels (for diabetes).
After considering all the risk factors, your doctor or nurse will calculate your risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next five years.
You can also do a basic heart check at www.knowyournumbers.co.nz but only your doctor or nurse can do a full heart and diabetes check.
Visit the Heart Foundation's website to find out what your 'risk' means.