Heart disease: Australia’s number one killer for women

A Survey from the Heart Foundation found that four out of five women were unaware heart disease was the number one killer for women in Australia. The survey also identified that 42 percent of women believed that breast cancer was the most common cause of death which isn’t the case at all. Heart disease kills 11,000 women each year in Australia which is approximately 4 times as many as breast cancer. Read on to find out more about heart disease and Australian women.

Woman and heart disease

What is Heart disease?

Heart disease affects both men and women; it is when the arteries in your heart [the ones that supply oxygen and nutrients to the muscle] become clogged with fatty material called plaque.

Plaque will build up on the inner wall of your arteries making them more narrow which limits blood supply to your heart. If the blood supply is reduced symptoms such as Angina can occur. Angina is temporary chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart is unable to get enough blood and oxygen, this most often occurs during physical activity or emotional distress.

What puts you at risk?

  • Smoking — both active smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Overweight
  • Depression and social isolation

Lowering your risk

As heart disease is largely preventable there are things we can all do to lower our risk factor. These include:

  1. See your GP for a heart disease risk assessments every year.
  2. Find out your cholesterol level, blood pressure and waist circumference.
  3. Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of suffering from coronary heart disease.
  4. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet.
  5. Get active; the Heart Foundation recommends regular physical activity. It is suggested to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day to help maintain a good heart health.

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