More than 80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable

More than 80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable

When you consider that heart disease is a leading killer of Australian women, taking the lives of three times as many women than breast cancer, knowing that you can prevent more than 80% of these incidences is a sobering statistic.

If that many can be prevented, why aren’t they? A lot of it comes down to awareness and education.

Women are less proactive about their heart health because they don’t realise the risks. Heart disease is mainly associated with overweight, stressed out middle-aged men so while they are conscious of this threat, women are less so which means they tend to miss the risk factors.

On the bright side

The above statistic is also hopeful. Because it means that there are steps you can take to ensure that you, or your loved ones, aren’t one of the 22 women we lose to heart disease every day.

And the more people that take on the heart health message, the lower those numbers will be in a year, five years and ten years from now.

By recognising that heart disease is one of the leading health issues for women, they can then take better care of their health by:

  • Ensuring blood pressure is under control
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Quit smoking
  • Start exercising
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Go for regular Heart Health Checks when you’re over 45

Recognising heart attack symptoms in women

The image of a man clutching his chest as he falls over is considered a typical indicator of a heart attack. It’s one we see in movies all the time and something most people are familiar with. But the Heart Foundation says “research has shown that just over half of women who have a heart attack experienced chest pain.”

Women who have heart attacks usually present with symptoms that are ‘atypical,’ which means you may not know you are having a heart attack until it is too late.

Being aware of women-specific heart attack symptoms may save your life or that of a woman close to you.

These symptoms can include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Pressure in the neck and jaw
  • Pain in the back and arms
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath.

If you experience a combination of these symptoms, there is a high chance you are having a heart attack and you need to get to a hospital ASAP.

Resources

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/million-hearts/

WHO
https://www.who.int/features/qa/27/en/

Heart Foundation
https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/women-and-heart-disease/risk-factors-for-women