Alarming Mid North Coast heart health data a wake-up call

The Mid North Coast region ranks eighth out of 28 NSW regions for heart attack hospital admissions, falls in the top 10 for smoking and almost one quarter of the adult population has high blood pressure.
The Mid North Coast region ranks eighth out of 28 NSW regions for heart attack hospital admissions, falls in the top 10 for smoking and almost one quarter of the adult population has high blood pressure.

The Mid North Coast region ranks eighth out of 28 NSW regions for heart attack hospital admissions, falls in the top 10 for smoking and almost one quarter of the adult population has high blood pressure.

New data by the Heart Foundation's Australian Heart Maps has revealed the region's rate of heart attack hospital admissions is 17.2 out of every 10,000 people. This is about 19 per cent above the NSW average.

Out of 28 regions in NSW, the Mid North Coast region, which includes Port Macquarie-Hastings, Armidale, Bellingen, Kempsey, Mid-Coast and Nambucca local government areas, has the state's 12th highest rate of death from coronary heart disease.

The death rate in this region is 67 out of every 100,000 people, which is about four per cent above the state average.

The figures show that the Riverina region - which includes Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Gundagai and Deniliquin - is the state's heart-attack capital.

The Mid North Coast region has the state's 10th highest rate of hospitalisations from coronary heart disease. People in this region are hospitalised for coronary heart disease at a rate of 49.2 out of every 10,000 people, about 8 per cent above the state average.

In terms of heart disease risk factors, the Mid North Coast region has the state's sixth highest rate of obesity. Around 37 per cent of adults living in this region are obese. This is higher than the state average of 31 per cent.

This region is also in the top 10 for smoking.

About 68 per cent of adults living in the Mid North Coast region are not active enough for good health, and around 23.5 per cent have high blood pressure.

"These figures reveal an alarming inequality between the NSW residents who are most and least at risk of heart disease, as well as those who are most and least likely to be hospitalised or die from the condition, including from a heart attack," said the Heart Foundation's NSW/ACT Heart Health Manager, Anna Flynn.

"If you live in the state's remote south, north or west, or in a disadvantaged part of Sydney, you have a much higher chance of heart disease, which remains the single leading cause of death in NSW," Ms Flynn said.

"This is unacceptable, and the Heart Foundation will continue its work to reduce heart disease. We also urge governments at all levels to take action to curb the toll - especially in regional, rural and disadvantaged areas, where our Heart Maps show the burden of heart disease is at its highest."

The Heart Foundation encourages all NSW residents to take action to protect their heart health. If you're 45 and over, or from age 30 if you're Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, talk to your GP about having a Heart Health Check.

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