Blocked arteries:
A shock to the system


  • Spring 2019
  • Ask the experts

I am a 67-year-old male who is very active (I walk and cycle daily) and I have always eaten a balanced, healthy diet. I did smoke in my teens and early 20s as many of us did in those days, but my only remaining vice is the odd glass of scotch. So it came as a huge shock to be recently diagnosed with a blockage in one of my arteries. I am now awaiting bypass surgery and wondering why and how, when I live a much healthier lifestyle than most.

Even if you live a healthy lifestyle you can still develop heart problems, especially if you have a family history or genetic predisposition for heart disease. Genes can pass on the risk of heart disease and they can also be responsible for passing on conditions like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. If you have a family history, focusing on the risk factors you can change and leading a healthy lifestyle can still help to lower your risk of heart disease. Having regular heart health checks with your doctor from 45 years, or 30 if you’re an Indigenous Australian, gives you the best chance of managing your risk factors to prevent heart disease.


Answered by Natalie Raffoul

Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Manager

Heart Foundation


Cancer affects a large number of Australians, both directly and indirectly.

Cancer Council Australia provides credible, up-to-date information about different types of cancer, diagnosis and treatment.

You will also find information about genetic and family history aspects of cancer, help finding a treatment specialist and support for patients, family and carers.

For information and support go to the Cancer Council's website or call their support line on 13 11 20