It’s responsible for killing 1 Australian every 26 minutes, yet when it comes to women it seems we’re not heeding the warnings like we should.
According to the Heart Foundation:
- Over one million Australian women have at least four risk factors for heart disease.
- More than 2.9 million women have high cholesterol
- One in five or 1.4 million women have high blood pressure
- Close to 2 million women are obese.
If you don’t think heart disease can affect you, think again!
Every hour of every day, heart disease is responsible for the death of one Australian woman.
This makes heart disease the number one killer of women.
Not only is heart disease a killer, but it often takes the lives of women prematurely.
If when you think of heart disease you picture old men and women (who already have plenty of other health-related problems), you may need to re-think who is at risk.
So what are the risk factors?
Understanding the risk factors is key in preventing heart disease. Even though you can’t change your age or your family history, there are risk factors you can change. These risk factors include:
- smoking – both active smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke
- high blood cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- being physically inactive
- being overweight
- depression, social isolation and lack of quality support
What about hospitalisations?
Each day, 134 Australian women are hospitalised due to heart disease.
How can I prevent heart disease?
The good news is that for many women heart disease is preventable. By making changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce your risk. This is especially important if you have a family history of heart disease.
If your family tree is filled with heart disease or related conditions (such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol), making lifestyle changes is essential.
Arming yourself with knowledge is a step that you can’t skip in the fight to prevent heart disease. This doesn’t just include rambling off the list of high-risk factors that contribute to heart disease. It also means having self-knowledge.
It’s easy to say, “That will happen to someone else” or, “I don’t fit the profile.”
You’re young, you’re an active mum and you feel like you’re free from risk. But, are you really?
Take a look at your entire lifestyle. Even though your kids may eat like kings, stuffing yourself with their scraps or eating on-the-go might contribute to poor nutrition (a risk factor for heart disease).
Why take heart disease seriously?
If you haven’t gotten the major message yet – HEART DISEASE IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST KILLER OF AUSTRALIAN WOMEN.
It kills three times as many women as breast cancer and from one mum to another, please take the time to get regular check-ups, ask your doctor about testing for high cholesterol/blood pressure and evaluate your life choices to ensure that you’re living the healthiest way possible!
Discuss your entire lifestyle and family health history with your GP and make the time to have a HEART HEALTH CHECK which can be done as part of a normal check up. Your doctor will take blood tests, check your blood pressure and ask you about your lifestyle and your family (your grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters). Be sure to provide them with as much information about your lifestyle and family history as possible (and be honest!)
Once your doctor or health practitioner has your blood test results, ask them for your report which will state if you have high (more than 15%); moderate (10-15%) or low risk (less than 10%) of a heart attack or stroke.
Watch this short clip with Cardiologist Cathie Coleman from St Vincent’s Hospital to find out more about what a Heart Health Check involves and be sure to spread the word.