Raising awareness about the warning signs of a heart attack is the theme of this year’s National Heart Week.

The Wesley Hospital and Queensland Heart Foundation launched Heart Week this morning.

Tess Stolarchuck reports.

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Hundreds of heart-shaped balloons floated skywards marking the start of National Heart Week.

The focus is on educating people about the warning signs which aren’t limited to chest pain.

Cameron Proud, CEO Heart Foundation: “Nine out of ten people aren’t aware of the other warning signs which include jaw and neck pain, shoulder or back pain.”

Not knowing the symptoms has stopped people ringing an ambulance for up to four hours.

David Colquhoun, Associate Professor: “But the thing is unless you come to hospital we can’t help you and the most dangerous time is the first hour or two.”

Too many Australians are still unaware of the risks associated with not responding quickly to a heart attack.

New research released by the Heart Foundation shows that 55 per cent of Australians wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a heart attack. But experts say getting patients to a hospital quickly will give them the best chance of survival.

Throughout Heart Week, the Wesley Hospital is holding education sessions on healthy living.

That includes 20 minutes of exercise every day not necessarily all at once.

A healthy diet is another way to lower the risk of heart disease.

Natasha Moon, Cardiac Clinical Nurse Manager: “Five serves of vegetables two serves of fruit every single day, trying to reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet like eating McDonalds and things like that.”

Heart Week will conclude with a “Walk for your Heart” event this Friday from the Wesley to Southbank Parklands.

Tess Stolarchuk, QUT News.