NSLHD News March 26

higher mortality heart attack patients with no known risk factors

The risk factors for heart attacks are widely known, but for some patients, they happen without any prior warning. An international study led by Professor Gemma Figtree has found that these patients make up around 15 per cent of all heart attack patients. The typical risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low physical activity, smoking, and obesity, but some patients, like Jennifer Tucker, experience arterial blockage despite not having any of these. Jen was a fit, non-smoking 35-year-old mum of two when she started experiencing tightness in her chest and breathlessness during exercise. A persistent cardiologist convinced her to get an angiogram, which revealed a 90 per cent blockage of her artery. Empowering young people in their health choices is a key aspect of delivering a high standard of care and improving community health. At NSLHD, there’s a whole team of young people (pictured on the front cover) consulting the district on youth-friendly service delivery, initiatives and resources. Since its inception 21 years ago, the NSLHD Quality Award-winning Youth Health Promotion team has amplified the voice and actions of local young people. This input enhances NSLHD services and initiatives that support the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young adults as the team of

“I was absolutely stunned when they told me my heart was 90 per cent blocked,” Jen said. “It was a very lucky escape for me.” The study released in the Lancet found that patients like Jen are significantly less likely to receive medical therapy at discharge, which may be a contributing factor to the poorer outcomes in the group with no prior risk. “Despite their perceived low risk of having coronary disease, they had a much higher mortality rate compared to people who had traditional risk factors explaining a heart attack,” Gemma said. This difference in treatment is particularly pronounced in women.

Professor Gemma Figtree

factors] had a three times higher mortality [risk] than a male heart attack patient with risk factors,” Gemma said. “It shows we need to think beyond traditional risk factors to find out what is driving the increased heart attacks and mortality.”

“A woman who had a heart attack related to plaque in [her] arteries [with no risk To investigate this further, Gemma’s team has been awarded an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence to develop new approaches to improve outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease. Meet the team helping NSLHD improve youth friendliness

twelve diverse young people aged 15-24 share their unique perspective. The team’s initiatives cover a broad range of hot- button issues for young people including healthy relationships, mental health support, smoking prevention, and food access for young people at risk of homelessness. Charlotte, 16, is a local high school student and has been working as a youth consultant for the last two years. “It’s so important to have the input of young people in the planning and delivery of health promotion initiatives and services they interact with so they’re more accessible and genuine,” she

said. Finn, 20, is a uni student and advocate for young LGBT people. “It’s always important to promote inclusivity and diversity to make sure that the needs of everyone are recognised and met,” he said. “Often, the needs and voices of young people are forgotten, which is why it’s important to consult young people on issues affecting them.” For more information or to book a free consultation go to Youth Friendly Consultations - NSLHD or email NSLHD- YouthHealthPromotion@ health.nsw.gov.au



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