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Heart attack warning as heatwave continues in Queensland

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In Australia, heatwaves claim more lives than any other natural hazard and the Heart Foundation is urging Queenslanders with heart conditions to take extra care in the heat with temperatures set to soar over 40 degrees in many parts of the State this week.

People with heart disease or taking medication for blood pressure or excess fluid, such as diuretics, are at higher risk of falling ill or having a heart attack during a heatwave.

Stephen Vines, Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, said people should prepare themselves and think about how they’ll cope and look out for each other as the temperatures continue to soar.

People with heart disease are at much higher risk in the extreme heat,” Mr Vines said.

Heatwaves also take a particular toll on the health of our elderly relatives and friends – and I would urge people to be vigilant about looking out for them during these hotter days.

Mr Vines explained that as the temperature rises, the body responds to try and balance with the heat by increasing blood flow to the skin and by sweating.

Sweating leads to dehydration, which reduces the volume of blood. This makes the heart pump harder to circulate the reduced amount of blood around the body,” he said.

For people with heart disease and those who are at high risk of a heart attack, these changes can overwhelm the heart and could even result in a heart attack,” he added.

“It’s really important people know the warning signs for a heart attack and act quickly to call triple zero (000) if they need help.

Heatwave health tips:

  • Look after yourself and keep in touch with others
  • Drink plenty of water without waiting for thirst (if your doctor normally limits your fluids, check how much to drink during hot weather)
  • Keep cool – stay indoors or in an air-conditioned environment
  • Reduce normal activity levels or pick a cooler time of day to be active

For more information, call the Heart Foundation's Helpline on 13 11 12.

- Ends - 

Media contact for interviews: Paula Lazzarini, 07 3872 2500 or 0427 619 589

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