Heart Health

Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies from heart disease. Many of these deaths are premature and preventable, so it is important to know about these simple but significant ways to take care of your heart.

Here are some great ways to show your heart some love:

  • Being smoke-free
  • Regular exercise – ideally 30 mins a day
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet – for heart-healthy guidance and recipe ideas visit heartfoundationorg.nz/wellbeing/healthy-eating
  • Reducing alcohol intake – the Heart Foundation notes that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption
  • Taking heart-related and blood pressure medication as prescribed

When should I go and see my doctor?

Most people should get a heart check with their doctor every 5 years, starting at the following ages:

Group Males Females
Māori, Pacific and South-Asian Over 30 Over 40
People with known risk factors such as smoking, family history of heart problems, or with high risk of developing diabetes Over 35 Over 45
People with a severe mental illness Over 25 Over 25
People with diabetes Yearly after your diagnosis Yearly after your diagnosis
People with no known risk factors Over 45 Over 55


If you fall into these age categories and have not had a check in the past five years, contact your local Defence Health Centre or GP to book an appointment.

Take a free online heart check

My Heart Check is a free online heart health check. It gives you an idea of your heart’s “age” compared to your actual age, while calculating your estimated risk of having a heart attack or stroke and importantly it provides tips on how to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Warning signs of heart problems

Be aware of warning signs of heart problems, which include feeling pain, discomfort, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in the jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, arms or back. You may also feel dizzy, tired, sweaty, short of breath or sick. 

Call 111 immediately if you experience any of these symptoms for more than 10 minutes.

And if you aren’t sure, call anyway – the emergency services would always rather you call and not need them, than not contact them at all.

For more information, see the Heart Foundation website

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