The statistics don’t lie
- Heart disease is a leading killer of Australian women – with almost 3 times as many deaths as breast cancer.
- 22 Australian women die from heart disease every day.
- Although women are more likely to experience atypical symptoms (jaw, shoulder, neck and back pain) when having a heart attack, only one in five women are aware of at least one of the symptoms.
- Women aged 30 to 65 are less likely to have spoken to their GP about heart disease than men (23% compared to 31%) and considerably less likely to have had a heart health check (28% compared to 41%).
- More than 46,000 women are hospitalised with heart disease each year.
- An Australian woman dies from a heart attack every two hours
Pregnancy is the ultimate heart stress test
For most women their pregnancy is uncomplicated – but for some, vascular complications can arise that can have a long-term impact on a woman’s heart health. Complications in pregnancy don’t always disappear after delivery.
Women who experience vascular complications in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension and preeclampsia are at increased risk of developing heart disease 10 to 15 years later. These women will require regular and ongoing health monitoring.
Women are physically and hormonally different to men
Blood vessels, hormones and our metabolic function all influence our cardiovascular health. Yet women are seemingly ‘invisible’ when it comes to research and clinical studies, leading to gaps in our understanding of heart disease in women. These gaps in understanding along with low levels of awareness can lead to delayed diagnosis and a woman’s heart condition being effectively invisible, until it’s too late.
Women often fare worse in terms of outcomes
While more men will suffer heart attacks compared with women, women often fare worse in terms of outcomes – either dying before they get to hospital or at increased risk of suffering from a second or third heart attack.
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