According to the World Heart Day organisation, any disease of the heart, vascular disease of the brain, or disease of the blood vessel is considered CVD. The most common cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease (e.g. heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (e.g. stroke). Coronary heart disease (also called ischaemic heart disease) is caused by the build-up of fatty material called plaque on the inside walls of coronary arteries. Plaque is mostly cholesterol.

A healthy heart is essential for healthy living. Heart attack and heart disease are the world’s biggest killers – over 17 million people each year die from cardiovascular disease. Understanding warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack can be one of the most effective methods of preventing death from heart disease.

Heart attack warning signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. They can also vary from one attack to another in the same person. Signs and symptoms may not always be sudden or severe. Signs and symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and nausea/vomiting. You can have these symptoms for weeks before a heart attack actually occurs.

You can get more information on heart disease and heart attacks from pharmacies around Australia providing the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care health information. Self Care Fact Cards available from these pharmacies include topics such as Warning signs of heart attack and High blood pressure as well as lifestyle topics such as Staying a non-smoker.