Gympie a heart disease hotspot
GYMPIE is a heart disease hotspot, with chest pain the top reason people were hospitalised through the Gympie Hospital emergency department last year.
In 2014, 167 patients attended the Gympie emergency department with possible cardiac chest pain - the top reason for attending the ED.
A further 61, the fourth most common, attended with rapid and irregular heartbeat; while 48, the seventh most common, attended with heart failure.
Heart Foundation Queensland health director Rachelle Foreman said Gympie, like much of regional Queensland, had a high prevalence of heart disease
Heart Foundation statistics show 22% of people in the greater Sunshine Coast area, including Gympie, had cardiovascular disease while 59.7% were overweight or obese - a key risk factor in developing heart disease.
Ms Foreman said while genetics and socio-economics played a role in the prevalence of heart disease, the biggest driver was lifestyle issues.
She said regional Queenslanders were more likely to be overweight and smoke, and less likely to get enough exercise.
"Clearly where regional Queenslanders are not doing well is … with weight and obesity levels...Across Queensland people just aren't getting exercise. That's just half an hour a day," she said.
"We're finding in regional areas people are more likely to be eating less healthily - there is less access to fresh and healthy food and so more people eat junk food."
Ms Foreman said while Brisbane had lower cardiovascular disease rates than regional areas, the capital was still not healthy.
She said the good news was lifestyle was changeable - with obesity only becoming a major societal problem in the past 30 years, and smoking levels dropping across the population.
Ms Foreman said if people would "move more, sit less, eat less and eat better" they would lessen their risks of heart disease as well as diabetes, strokes and some cancers.