Deadly heart conditions on the increase

The number of cardiac-related incidents reported in Christchurch is continuing to increase, St John statistics show.

The ambulance service reported a 17 per cent increase in cardiac-related incidents in Christchurch since 2009, including a spike immediately following the September 4 earthquake.

St John attended 4174 cardiac-related incidents in the year from September 2009 to August 2010, and the figure jumped to 4541 the following year, which included the September 2010 and the February 2011 earthquakes.

Cardiac-related incidents had continued to increase in Christchurch since then though, with St John attending 4899 such incidents in the year from September 2011 to August 2012.

The charity was encouraging people to take steps to achieve better heart health as part of World Heart Day today.

St John Canterbury district operations manager Pete Cain said cardiovascular disease was a big killer in New Zealand.

"In our country, 40 per cent of deaths annually can be attributed to cardiovascular disease. St John statistics show that, in Christchurch, there is continuing growth in heart-related conditions and diseases."

The problem was not just confined to Christchurch though, with St John seeing an increase across the country in the number of incidents it attended where people were experiencing cardiac-related symptoms, including cardiac arrests, chest pain and general heart problems.

"We especially encourage people to take steps to make sure they are staying heart healthy, including having regular blood pressure checks, keeping to a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, and having regular health check-ups," Cain said.

Fairfax Media