Nicky Winmar’s Message
Former champion footballer Nicky Winmar always looked after his health, apart from having been a light smoker for years. But he had a heart attack at only 46, after losing his own father to a heart attack at 50.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. “The people you love, take them for heart health checks,” Mr Winmar says. “Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and make sure to ring 000 (Triple Zero) if you think someone in your community is having one.”
He also urges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to give cigarettes the boot: “If you smoke, stop. I was only a light smoker but it still did me harm, so now I’ve given up.”
What’s a heart health check?
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the age of 35 should have regular heart health checks. These are simple and painless.
- A heart health check can be done as part of a normal check up with your doctor or health practitioner.
- Your doctor will take blood tests, check your blood pressure and ask you about your lifestyle and your family (your grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters).
- Give your doctor as much information about your lifestyle and family history as possible.
- Once your doctor or health practitioner has your blood test results, ask them for your report which will state if you have high (more than 15%); moderate (10-15%) or low risk (less than 10%) of a heart attack or stroke.
Do you have more questions?
The Heart Foundation Helpline is here to answer them. Call 13 11 12 and talk to one of our qualified heart health professionals. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 and ask for the Heart Foundation.
Warning signs of a heart attack
- Pain in the chest – or arms, shoulders, neck, jaw or back
- Sick in the stomach
- Cold sweats
- Dizzy or light-headed
If someone seems to be having a heart attack:
- Make them stop what they are doing
- Give them a tablet of aspirin to chew
- Call 000 (Triple Zero) for help. The operator will tell you what to do next.
Heart Foundation Helpline
We are here to answer your questions. Call 13 11 12 and talk to one of our qualified heart health professionals. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 and ask for the Heart Foundation.