High rates of heart disease deaths in central Victoria

Picture: Gabriele Charotte
Picture: Gabriele Charotte

Central Victorians are dying of heart disease at a greater rate than the Australian community at large, health data shows.

The Heart Foundation’s ‘heart maps’ show that of the eight municipalities in the region, just one – Macedon Ranges – has a coronary heart disease mortality rate lower than the national average.

The rate of death in Loddon Shire is the highest in the region and the second highest in the state at 105 deaths per 10,000 people, behind Murrundindi.

Second-highest in central Victoria is the Central Goldfields, which also has the fourth-highest rate in the state.

The mortality rate for Greater Bendigo is 81.5 deaths per 10,000 people, while the national average is 75.5.

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Data shows rates of two of the major risk factors for heart disease, smoking and obesity, are also high across central Victoria.

All municipalities, with the exception of Macedon Ranges, have rates of smoking higher than the national average.

Obesity is also more prevalent in all municipalities than Australia as a whole.

Central Goldfields has the highest rates of both obesity and smoking in Victoria.

The data also shows that heart disease is more common in areas of greater socio-economic disadvantage.

Central Goldfields is the most disadvantaged municipality in the state, and has one of the highest mortality rates for heart disease.

Loddon, with the highest mortality rate, is also among the most disadvantaged areas of Victoria.

Deaths from heart disease across Australia are 50 per cent higher among people living in disadvantaged areas than in those in the most advantaged areas, and hospitalisations due to heart failure and heart attack are at least 70 per cent higher.

Heart attack symptoms

One of the most common signs of a heart attack is discomfort or pain in the chest, a heaviness, tightness or pressure.

A person suffering a heart attack may also experience a choking feeling, and their arms might feel heavy or useless.

Shortness of breath, nausea, a cold sweat, and dizziness or light-headedness are other common symptoms.

Symptoms can come on suddenly, or may gradually develop over time.

If a person experiences signs of a heart attack for 10 minutes, if they are severe, or if they get progressively worse, Triple Zero should be called immediately.

On average, a person dies from a heart attack every hour in Australia.