Take steps to reduce your risk of heart attack

Ipswich has a significantly higher rate of heart related hospital admissions than the national average – 75 per 10,000 compared to 48 – and heart disease mortality rate – 87 per 10,000 compared to 68.

When it comes to importance of heart health, retired cabbie Jeff Collins almost learned the hard way.

Mr Collins narrowly avoided a major heart attack aged 70 when he visited his GP about severe abdomen pain which turned out to be a large blood clot.

“My heart was beating too fast and the clot covered my spleen,” he said.

“I made changes right there and then, for my grandchildren.”

Five years on from his health scare, Mr Collins now makes an effort to live a healthy life.

As part of his new healthy lifestyle, Mr Collins sought a referral to the West Moreton Health Heart Failure Service in March and said his fitness has improved dramatically after attending sessions in the service’s Cardiac Gym. 

“Go with your instincts — if you don’t feel right go to the doctor,” Mr Collins said.

“I started off doing three minutes on each machine, now I’m doing 10 minutes on each machine.

“When most folks hit 70, they think their life is over, it doesn’t have to be.

“I’m here at the gym almost every day and loving it.”

Heart Failure Clinical Nurse, Jade Boettcher said Heart Week was a good opportunity for everyone in the community to have a conversation about heart health and reducing their risk of heart disease.

Ms Boettcher encouraged everyone to “know their numbers” by getting a Heart Health Check done.

“The Heart Health Check will focus on testing your blood pressure, heart rate, BMI and cardiovascular risk.

“Early identification of heart conditions assists appropriate or preventative treatment.”

The Heart Failure Service team will attend Ipswich Park Run on 4 May at 7 am to keep spreading the healthy living message.

The Ripley Heart Foundation Walking Group launches on Tuesday 7 May at 10am. Regular walks boost your health not to mention it is also free and fun. Meet at Minka Place for a walk which will be followed by morning tea and a cuppa. Contact Sarah for more information: 0437 345 309.

Here are five more walking groups around Ipswich to start you off


1. Woogaroo Walkers meet at Warren Park car park at Church Street, Goodna, three times a week.

Monday 6pm, Wednesday 6pm and Friday 6pm for a medium paced walk from 45 to 60 minutes.

Walk organiser is Marnie, phone: 3810 7138.


2. USQ Community Walk Group meet at the Sport and Exercise Science Clinic (Building C) near the ramp, Salisbury Road, Ipswich, three times a week. This group specialises in chronic illness, limited mobility or for people wishing to improve function.

Monday 8.30am, Tuesday 8.30am and Thursday 8.30am for 30 minutes or less.

Walk organiser is Merendi, phone: 3812 6104.


3. Raceview walking group meet at Raceview Shopping Centre four times a week.

Monday 6am, Wednesday 6am, Friday 6am and Saturday 6am for a medium paced walk from 45 to 60 minutes.

Walk organiser is Jenny: [email protected]


4. The Queens walkers meet at Lion Street, Limeston Park, Ipswich twice a week.

Wednesday 3.30am and Thursday 3.30am for a medium paced walk for 45 to 60 minutes.

Walk organiser is Christine: [email protected]


5. Ipswich Heart Foundation Walkers meet at various locations twice a week.

Monday 9am and Saturday 3pm for a medium paced walk lasting 30 minutes or less.

Walk organiser is Coral: [email protected]

Nurse Rose Chitana has been working out at the West Moreton Health Cardiac Gym almost daily for almost 18 months, between work shifts.

Her specialist encouraged her to improve her heart strength.

“I was constantly fatigued and it was impacting my work,” Ms Chitana said.

“I’m here as often as possible and the staff drew up a program I can use elsewhere too.

“I love the cross trainer and I also do the weights and rowing machine.

“I do a lot more walking now, several kilometres a day.” 

Ms Chitana’s improved fitness has also helped her keep up with her teenage children.

“I’m a lot more active when playing with them. Now that I’m in my mid-forties, that’s important.”

Ms Chitana said everyone who had cardiac issues would benefit from going to the gym.

“Look for the signs you’re not quite well,” Rose said.

“If you’ve been diagnosed and need to improve your fitness, get the referral.

“It’s a fantastic environment and for referred patients, it’s free.”

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