Taking care of your heart is the best trick in the book, magician warns men
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Taking care of your heart is the best trick in the book, magician warns men

Media Release - 12 June 2020

One minute, professional magician and music performer, 51-year-old George Stas was playing the piano accordion on stage at the Brighton Theatre in North Brighton– his family and friends in the audience – and the next he was on the ground not breathing, with no pulse and in cardiac arrest. His heart had stopped.

An audience member quickly found a defibrillator and one of George’s close friends, a GP who happened to also be performing on stage with him along with George’s niece, re-started his heart on the second attempt, just as paramedics arrived.

Three days later, George woke up in hospital, remembering nothing of that moment, his wife and sister helping to piece together what happened. He was attached to monitors and was told he had a triple bypass to fix the three blockages in his arties with the right coronary artery 100% blocked.  

“It wasn’t until the cardiologist told me that I was incredibly lucky to be alive that I realised how serious it was,” Mr Stas said.

As Men’s Health Week approaches on Monday, the Heart Foundation is urging men and boys to make healthy lifestyle choices.

In South Australia cardiovascular disease accounts for about 1 in 4 male deaths, and on average 67 men are admitted to hospital every day as a result of cardiovascular disease.

“This Men’s Health Week (15th-21st June) it is important to remind men about the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and the ways to keep your heart healthy,” says Marie Ludlow, Heart Health Manager SA.

“It’s important to look at the risk factors that we can change, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, whether you smoke, being physically inactive, being overweight and not eating a healthy diet,” Ms Ludlow said.

This is particularly relevant in South Australia, where 75% of men are overweight or obese, and 80% of men are not getting enough exercise.

George had never smoked or drunk alcohol, but now he is more careful with what he eats, exercises more often and has regular check-ups to take care of his heart and overall health.

“Regardless of whether you are fit and healthy, the biggest piece of advice I could give my fellow males is to get regular check- ups, as you just don’t know if you have an underlying condition,” Mr. Stas said. 

The Heart Foundation recommends all Australians aged 45 years and over have a Heart Health Check at least every two years, and from 30 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

“During a Heart Health Check, your doctor or health practitioner will take blood tests for your blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels, check your blood pressure and body mass index and waist size. They will ask about your lifestyle including your diet, how active you are, and whether you smoke, as well as discussing your alcohol intake and your immediate family’s medical history,” Ms. Ludlow said 

For George, anxiety and depression were the hardest parts of his recovery.

“I found the mental side of my recovery very hard, but I am now out there telling my story to my clients using magic as a tool to hopefully create awareness and educate people to have heart checks,” Mr Stas said. 

This year Men’s Health Week runs from the 15th - 21st of June.

Media enquiries

Emily Goddard, Media Advisor 
M: 0432 417 518 Eemily.goddard@heartfoundation.org.au

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