Heart Rhythm Week 2023

June 7-13 is International Heart Rhythm Week, an important date to include in your calendar each year as a reminder to check your heart rate (pulse). 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Australians and the leading cause of death for veterans 50 years and over.

Which is why, this International Heart Rhythm Week, DVA encourages veterans to have important conversations about heart arrhythmias and is supporting veterans to take action to care for their hearts.

A beating heart is vital to live. How fast or slow your heart beats is referred to as your heart rate (pulse). A healthy heart (when resting) beats at a rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. A heart that beats outside of this range is said to be irregular.

Clinical terms (those used by doctors and health professionals) to describe irregular heartbeats are arrhythmias, cardiac arrhythmias, heart arrhythmias, and/or dysrhythmias.

The clinical term to describe a resting heart that beats too fast (too many times per minute) is tachycardia. To describe a resting heart that beats too slow is bradycardia, (heart doesn’t beat enough times per minutes). 

A heart arrhythmia is not always life-threating but can cause serious complications such as stroke and heart failure. Some people with a heart arrhythmia may have no symptoms – until it is too late. 

The Australian Government has free health advice available, including information about how to check your heart rate.

If you think you have an irregular heartbeat, make an appointment to see your GP.

You should seek urgent medical attention if your heart is racing, and the rhythm is irregular, you feel short of breath and/or you have chest pain.

DVA knows how important having a healthy heart is and encourages all veterans to take care of their hearts. Eligible veterans can participate in the Heart Health Program | Department of Veterans' Affairs (dva.gov.au)