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SAHMRI Study: Heart disease in women

Heart disease is a concern for many women, but not for the reason it ought to be.

Heart disease is not just a man's problem

Heart disease is a concern for many women, but not for the reason it ought to be.

There’s a strong perception that it’s mostly men who suffer from heart disease as we predominately see images of middle-aged men clutching at their chests on television, in brochures and online. Do a quick google image search for ‘heart attack’ and the vast majority of the images shown are men.

So it’s only natural that as mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, we make sure the men in our lives get regular blood pressure and cholesterol check-ups.

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Heart disease is the biggest killer of women in Australia

SAHMRI Building Adelaide

Did you know that 24 women die from the disease every day?

Heart researcher Peta King from SAHMRI states: “Heart disease doesn’t just target men – even though most of the advertising around it does,” “Women are three times more likely to die from heart disease than from breast cancer, and yet few are aware of the dangers until it is too late.”

It's crucial for men and women to be aware of the risks posed by heart disease

Ms King said it was crucial for men and women to be aware of the risks posed by the disease. She said age is certainly a risk factor, but is certainly not the only consideration.

“Yes, men are more likely to die from a heart attack than women between the ages of 40 and 60, but women very rapidly catch up around menopause,’’ she said. The rate of heart disease rises dramatically among women after menopause, when production of oestrogen protecting the heart drops off.

Other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, also expose younger women to the dangers of heart disease.

She said it is critical for women of any age to be aware that heart disease doesn’t discriminate by gender.

“By all means ladies, continue nagging your partners, your brothers and your fathers to get their blood pressure checked and maintain a healthy lifestyle. But remember it’s just as important for you to visit your GP and talk about your risks of heart disease.”

It’s time to start raising awareness of the risk of heart disease amongst women. Make sure the women in your life get regular blood pressure and cholesterol check-ups with their GP to catch any early warning signs.


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