Not a lot of people know that heart disease is a leading cause of death for women around the world. In fact, you are two to three times as likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer. Women have fewer heart attacks than men but when they do, they tend to die more frequently. When it comes to heart disease and women:
- Women are more frequently misdiagnosed with symptoms sometimes called anxiety
- Women have different symptoms such as shortness of breath, lethargy and aches and pains in arms, jaw or back rather than pain in the chest
- Women have specific risks for heart problems like pre-eclampsia or diabetes in pregnancy
- Women's hearts are more vulnerable to the effects of diabetes and high blood pressure
- In heart failure, women are referred late for transplant or ventricular assist device (VAD) and data from the US shows women are more likely to die on the waitlist
- Treatment for women's heart disease may not be as effective as it is in men, or it is given less frequently than it should be
How can we make a difference?
Firstly, raising awareness is vital. Make sure your loved ones, friends or colleagues know that their hearts are very important. We should all know our risk factors, so be sure to get yours checked by your doctor. When it comes to preventing heart disease, lifestyle is queen - a healthy lifestyle can halve your risk of heart disease.
Of course, there is so much work to do in this area so if you can, support your local Heart Foundation to funding vital research to saving women's lives.
Heart disease concerns us all
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australians. What a lot of people don't know is that it is the leading cause of death in Australian women. It seems like a disease of older people or just the men in our lives but the fact is, heart disease can touch any of us, at any age.