Take a break to avoid heartache this Heart Week

Two Townsville businessmen, who reconnected after surviving heart attacks within a month of each other, are encouraging all Queenslanders to have regular check-ups with their GP this Heart Week (1-7 May).

Michael and Danny met at a Mater Private Hospital Townsville cardiac rehabilitation education session following their procedures, and continue to catch up for fortnightly coffees to check in on each other’s health.

Michael said it was eye-opening to realise heart diseases affected people of all ages.

“Danny and I already knew each other socially prior to our procedures, and then when we were at Mater’s heart education day and I saw Danny there, I thought he was there to support someone else.

Over coffee we realised we’d both recently suffered heart attacks and from there we thought it seemed like a good idea to have regular catch ups,” Michael said.

“It’s been really good to have someone who’s been through the process to talk about your fears, the future and even the past. Our families are so supportive but don’t really understand from that firsthand 
perspective, it’s great to have someone who has been through the same journey with you. 

“We spend so much money on different things, so ensure you are spending some of that on going to the 
doctor because it can save your life.”

Accountant Danny said it was important even for those living healthy lifestyles to still make time for regular GP visits.

“I’ve always maintained a relatively good level of fitness and low stress levels, then was mowing my lawn in January and was short of breath and hot – I proceeded to have a full heart attack in my living room following that,” Danny said.

“I didn’t have any of the underlying symptoms or indicators of heart problems, but have tweaked my diet slightly, am focusing on my mental health, and have dropped the things in life which don’t really matter. 

“Michael and I were two of four people in our 50s who attended the heart education day so it just shows that you can be any age. I work as part of a state-wide company and since January, have had so many calls from colleagues across Queensland in my age bracket saying ‘I think I’m displaying symptoms, what should I do,’ so just knowing that it has happened to someone their age is really prompting them to take this seriously. 

Mater Private Hospital Townsville Executive Officer Stephanie Barwick said Heart Week provided a timely reminder that people of all ages should be aware of the signs and symptoms of heart conditions.

“Heart Week is really important as it gives all Queenslanders the opportunity to know the signs and 
symptoms of heart disease and change their lifestyle to reduce their risk,” Ms Barwick said. 

“Mater is proud to be a leader in cardiac care from our Emergency Department through to our 
cardiothoracic ward and Allied Health Department – we have talented and experienced doctors, nurses 
and Allied Health staff who provide high quality compassionate care every time.

“As part of Heart Week we’re excited to have launched a free Heart Health Toolkit with further information on common signs and symptoms as well as daily activities to reduce your risk.

“We will also be conducting a Heart Health Roadshow at Strand Park this Saturday and at the Burdekin’s Plantation Park Markets this Sunday with some of our clinicians conducting free heart health assessments for North Queensland residents – visit our Facebook page for more information.”

For more information or to access a free Heart Health Toolkit, visit mater.li/Heart-Check.

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