Which disease is the single biggest killer of women in Australia and New Zealand?
The answer may surprise you.
Many of us would be inclined to suppose ‘women’s’ diseases like breast cancer, ovarian cancer or cervical cancer to be the biggest offenders, because these are the diseases that predominantly come to mind when we think of life-ending diseases for women.
But the number one killer of Australian and New Zealander women is a disease that affects both males and females alike: heart disease.
Startlingly, women are four times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer. If you’re surprised at not knowing this, don’t be – you’re not alone. Three out of four women still don’t know that this is the case.
Here are some other things you might not know:
- Internationally, heart disease claims 3.4 million women.
- Two thirds of all deaths from heart attacks in women occur in those who have no history of chest pain.
- Studies also show that women are less likely to dial for emergency help if they are showing signs of a heart attack.
- In those under 50 years of age, female heart attacks are twice as likely to be fatal
- Women with heart disease suffer more severe symptoms, more disability and a poorer quality of life than their male counterparts.
Most of us wont know any of this information until someone we love or we ourselves are affected.
Ignoring these facts can be deadly, and for this reason, the Heart Foundation in both countries is urging women to Go Red during the months of May (NZ) and June (AUS) to turn these alarming statistics around.
Show your support by donning your favourite red lippy (like we needed an excuse!), nail polish or your favourite red item of clothing in support of the campaign. You won’t be alone – many famous faces, like Anna Coddington (musician), Kerry-Lee Dewing (Shortland Street), Meghan Mutrie (Crowd Goes Wild) and Nicole Whippy (Outrageous Fortune and Nothing Trivial) have been getting involved.
Debunking the myths surrounding ‘women’s diseases’ and raising awareness of the real risks heart disease poses for women will help to stop women prematurely dying – something that tears families and communities apart.
So, as the campaign says: ‘Don’t become a statistic. Get a Heart Check.’