The Heart Foundation recently commissioned research which reveals most women mistakenly believe that breast cancer is the leading cause of death when, in fact, women are four times more likely to die of heart disease.
In 2006, heart disease claimed the lives of 10,797 Australian women while 2,628 died of breast cancer (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death Australia 2006). The Go Red for Women campaign has run throughout June to raise awareness and vital funds for research and education into women and heart disease.
“Our Go Red for Women campaign is a red alert to women to be aware of the disease; to talk to their doctor about their heart disease risk and to take practical steps to improve their lifestyle,” said Kathy Bell, Chief Executive Officer, Heart Foundation (Victoria).
Heart disease tragically claims the lives of 30 Australian women every day, but the good news is that much of this could be prevented.
“It is a common misconception that heart disease is a ‘male problem’, with women tending to dismiss their symptoms and not seek help until the condition becomes serious,” said Ms. Bell.
“But heart disease should not to be underestimated. It is a real issue for all women and younger women should heed our warning and take action now to reduce their risk. Most women recognise that smoking and obesity are major heart disease risk factors along with saturated fat, lack of exercise and family history. Worryingly however this new research suggests that there is a poor understanding of the dangers posed by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes,” she said.
The Newspoll data showed that only 11 percent recognised high blood pressure as a heart disease risk factor while 19 percent recognised high cholesterol and 6 percent recognised diabetes.
5 WAYS TO LOVE YOUR HEART
1. Regular heart check-ups: See your doctor or GP for ongoing heart disease risk assessments.
2. Get to know your numbers: Know your cholesterol level, blood pressure and waist circumference and check these regularly.
3. Go smoke-free: Kick the habit is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.
4. Enjoy healthy eating: Enjoy a variety of foods from the different food groups.
5. Be active every day: Regular, moderate physical activity is good for the heart. The Heart Foundation recommends you include at least 30 minutes or more on most or all days of the week.
The Heart Foundation is Australia’s leading heart health charity, the Heart Foundation is funded almost entirely by donations from the community. The Heart Foundation saves lives and improves health through funding world-class cardiovascular research, guidelines for health professionals, informing the public and assisting people with cardiovascular disease.
For more information please call the Heart Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87.