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Medical Health Aged Care

Monash experts: Heart Week: See your GP for a checkup

Monash University 5 mins read

The Heart Foundation is urging Australians to ‘never miss a beat’ by visiting their GP for a heart health check during Heart Week (6-12 May) 


To complement this, the foundation is urging health professionals to engage their patients about heart health and use the Aus CVD Risk calculator during their next Heart Health Check.


Available to comment:


Professor Stephen Nicholls, Director, Victorian Heart Institute, Monash University 

Director, Victorian Heart Hospital, Monash Health

Contact: +61 488 933 730 or   

  • Heart health generally
  • The importance of heart health checks
  • Know your numbers – why heart disease can be a silent killer
  • Cholesterol as a risk factor for heart disease
  • What our genetics can tell us about our heart

The following can be attributed to Professor Stephen Nicholls:

“We spend more money on the treatment of heart disease and stroke than almost any other area of health. We’re not winning the war if we’re only going to look at it from a treatment perspective and so the greatest potential we really have to impact heart disease is to look at prevention.

“We’re fortunate that the government introduced Heart Health Checks for people aged over 45. The reality is we’re still not doing as many as we need to. That partly is because there remain access issues in getting to your GP, but more importantly it’s about people knowing they exist.

“When it comes to risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure and cholesterol we want people to not just know their numbers, we want them to own their numbers. The best way to do this is to get a Heart Health Check and make an action plan with your GP.”

Associate Professor Ingrid Hopper, Consultant physician and Associate Professor, Chronic disease and Ageing, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University
Contact: +61 412 280 579 or   

  • Heart failure
  • Who is at risk
  • Prevention
  • Early detection 

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Hopper:

“Heart failure is a leading cause of death and hospitalisation, especially in older people, with over half a million Australians affected. Early diagnosis is key to good management. Older people should speak to their GP about a Heart Health Check.”


Dr Esther Davis, Cardiologist and Women’s Heart Health Program Lead, Victorian Heart Hospital and Monash Victorian Heart Institute
Contact Details: Monash Media Ph: +61 3 9903 4840 or 

  • Women's heart health, understanding sex-differences in cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular impact of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (including pre-eclampsia)

The following can be attributed to Dr Davis:

“Heart disease is a major killer of women in Australia, and women are frequently diagnosed later and with more severe diseases than men.

“Many women underestimate their risk of developing heart disease and may not recognise symptoms of heart disease, which are often experienced differently in women.

“Despite major advances, women with heart disease continue to be under-investigated and under-treated, and are less likely to be included in research to help us understand heart disease.”

Associate Professor Alison Beauchamp, Monash School of Rural health

Contact Details: Monash Media Ph: +61 3 9903 4840 or 

  • Health literacy and the equitable provision of health services
  • Social epidemiology, including inequalities in cardiac outcomes

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Beauchamp:


“Having good health information is key to people being able to look after their heart health. Yet for many people, understanding and using health information can be challenging. This is especially the case for people with lower health literacy or those whose first language is not English.


“Patients have told us they often leave a health appointment not fully understanding what they need to do, nor can they remember information when they get home. For prevention or treatment of cardiac conditions, we need to support patients to better understand and recall information.


“Health workers can support patients to understand information by using plain language, using teach-back to confirm understanding, and also encouraging patients to ask more questions in a consultation (see” 


Associate Professor Francine Marques, Monash School of Biological Sciences,

Head, Hypertension Research Group, and NHMRC, Viertel and National Heart Foundation Future Fellow

Contact Details: Ph: +61 425 075 884 or  
Read more of Associate Professor Marques commentary at Monash Lens 

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure
  • Improving heart function through the modulation of the bacteria in the gut

The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Marques:

“High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for death globally. This is because hypertension is a ‘silent disease’ – many people don’t know they have it until a lot of damage has been done to many essential organs such as the heart, arteries and kidneys. The good news is that high blood pressure is a preventable and treatable disease. The first-line therapy is lifestyle changes, such as decreased sodium intake and increased potassium and fibre intake in our diet, more physical exercise, and better sleep.

“During Heart Week, we are encouraging everyone to have their blood pressure measured. Our blood pressure increases as we age, so even if you had your blood pressure measured in the past and it was normal, it is essential to do it again – this is particularly important for women, as our blood pressure can increase quite substantially after menopause. We will provide free blood pressure checks at the Victorian Heart Hospital* this Monday and Wednesday mornings during Heart Week.

“The latest evidence points to an important connection between blood pressure and the gut microbiome – to answer this question, we are currently recruiting for a clinical trial in Melbourne:”


Dr Karen Price, PhD Candidate

Contact Details:
Read more of Dr Price’s commentary at Monash Lens 

  • General Practice
  • Primary health care

The following can be attributed to Dr Price:

“Your GP provides deep care that includes healthy heart checks. GPs save many lives through prevention of major issues like heart attacks. GPs can personalise your care depending upon your genetic and lifestyle risk factors. GPs are holistic healthcare experts who will look after your heart and everything else.

“Having a regular GP will help you stay healthy and with regular monitoring of risk factors you are much less likely to ever need hospital care. Having a GP who knows you well can save your life.  If you have any concerns about your heart or want to know what to look for with heart health, see your GP. 

“Your GP can help you understand what to look for with many health conditions but especially heart health, part of our job is to help you recognise when you might need extra help or hospitalisation.

“Know how healthy your heart is by seeing your GP and having a chat. This chat can save your life if you know how to prevent heart disease, what to do if you are worried and what to look for if you have symptoms.

“Remember, women can present differently so check in with your life saving GP today.” 

Visit the Victorian Heart Institute at Monash University website for more information on how we are improving cardiovascular health for all Australians.


For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, please contact the Monash University Media team on +61 3 9903 4840 or


*Walk ups welcome from 9.30am-12 noon on Monday and 10am-12 noon on Wednesday

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