Almost three times as many women die of heart disease than breast cancer. Every day, 22 women lose their lives to this condition.
In Australia, 90 per cent of women have one risk factor for heart disease while 50 per cent have two or more with the most common factors being overweight, high cholesterol and physical inactivity.
In fact, smoking and poorly controlled diabetes can pose a greater risk of heart disease for women than they do for men. Complications during pregnancy, like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, can also increase a woman’s risk of heart disease later in life. If you experienced either of these conditions during pregnancy it is important to let your doctor know, so they can monitor your heart health.
Risk factors for heart disease can start early in a woman’s life. However, many factors can be reduced by making lifestyle changes, such as making healthier food choices and moving more.
Research shows just over half of women who have a heart attack experience chest pain although many women will only experience non-typical symptoms like breathlessness, nausea and arm or jaw pain. It’s important to act quickly by calling 000 if you think something is wrong.
It’s a common belief that women are better at looking after their health than men. But when it comes to heart health, research shows that many women don’t and often put the needs of others before themselves. For example, they are less likely to attend cardiac rehabilitation, less likely to take their medication regularly, and are less likely to make the lifestyle changes necessary for good health.
A new year provides an opportunity to reflect on your health and being heart aware is good start. To learn more visit heartfoundation.org.au. and don’t forget to do the online health check at myhealthforlife.com to see if this free healthy lifestyle program can help you to live well and reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease.
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