Heart disease biggest killer of women
Women are six times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer, the Irish Heart Foundation has warned.
Over 4,000 women are dying each year from heart attack or stroke – the number one killer of women in Ireland but 3 in 4 women surveyed believe more men than women die from heart disease. The reality is that as many women as men are dying from the disease, says the IHF.
Irish Heart Foundation Medical Director and consultant cardiologist, Dr Angie Brown, said: “About one third of all women in Ireland will die from cardiovascular disease, yet many women still view a heart attack as mainly a man’s problem. Most women are more concerned about breast cancer even though six times as many women die from heart disease and stroke in Ireland each year. Our goal is to alert women that especially after the menopause, they are at risk of heart attack and stroke, as much as any man.”
The good news is that 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable and a positive lifestyle can alter risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A new RED ALERT campaign from the Irish Heart Foundation will run during September aiming to highlight the risk factors and prevention techniques.
Dr Brown says it’s important to know that the signs and symptoms of heart attack may be different for women: “A woman may experience more vague symptoms such as nausea, tiredness, shortness of breath, rather than the more usual crushing pain in the chest. Unfortunately this can mean that women delay in getting to the hospital and therefore lose valuable time for the necessary treatment.”
Check out these tips from the IHF and download your free magazine here: FREE MAGAZINE.
- BE ACTIVE for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
- EAT A HEALTHY DIET. Eat more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods.
- EAT LESS FAT, fries and convenience foods. Eat fish at least twice a week.
- MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT. Be more active and eat a healthy diet.
- IF YOU SMOKE, TRY TO STOP. The risk of heart attack is reduced by half, one year after quitting.
- DRINK LESS ALCOHOL – no more than 11 standard drinks per week for women.
- ENJOY LIFE. Learn to relax. Take time out for yourself and keep in touch with friends.
- HAVE REGULAR blood pressure and cholesterol checks with your family doctor.
- KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY and know the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke.
Women need to remember that especially after the menopause, they are at risk of heart attack and stroke, as much as any man. One reason for this is women are protected by their hormones and present with heart problems a few years later than men but after the menopause, a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke catches up with that of a man’s.