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Health: Heart Disease and Women

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02.09.10

During heart month our aim is to let women know that heart disease is not just a man's disease.


The Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation, Dr Angie Brown joins us along with Charlotte Heaphey, mother of two, who had a heart attack in December of last year totally out of the blue.


In 2008 nearly 5,000 Irish women died from heart disease and stroke but unfortunately, most women remain unaware of THEIR risk of this major killer.

Research shows that Irish women deem breast cancer to be a bigger health risk but this is not the case....

2008 saw 731 female deaths from breast cancer compared to nearly SEVEN TIMES more deaths from heart disease and stroke in the same year.


During September, The Irish Heart Foundation aims to increase awareness of these issues with their Red Alert campaign.

Dr Angie Brown from the Foundation joins us now along with Charlotte Heaphey who experienced a heart attack herself out of the blue in December of last year.

Irish Heart Month 2010 | Go Red For Women, Red Alert! Irish Heart Month, September 2010.

Heart disease and stroke combined is biggest killer in women.


A new campaign to raise awareness among women of how to protect themselves from the risk of heart disease and stroke begins this September led by the Irish Heart Foundation and supported by the Health Service Executive.


In 2008 nearly 5,000 Irish women died from heart disease and stroke but unfortunately, as in other countries, most women remain unaware of their risk of this major killer. In fact research shows that Irish women deem breast cancer to be a bigger health risk - 60% of those surveyed believe breast cancer is the biggest killer among women at 731 female deaths in 2008 compared to nearly seven times more deaths from heart disease and stroke in the same year.


Worryingly, only 18% of women correctly identified heart disease as the main cause of female death. Another cause of concern is that 37% of women also believed heart disease to be an exclusively 'male disease' even though just as many women die from it as men.

This September the Irish Heart Foundation aims to increase awareness of these issues using the international brand for heart disease and women - Go Red for Women. As the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, our aim is to help women understand their risk of cardiovascular disease through a month-long awareness and educational campaign.


Red Alert


The campaign will focus on specific issues for women including healthy lifestyle behaviours, recognition of signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke recognition of signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke and appropriate management of high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as the impact of menopause on women's heart health.



Red Alert : Key Messages

- Enjoy life. Take time out for yourself and keep in touch with friends

- Be active : at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 times a week

- Eat more fruit and vegetables and less fat and fries. Eat more fresh food and less convenience     

   foods

- If you smoke, try to stop 

- Go easy on alcohol : no more than 14 standard drinks per week.

- Have regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks with your family doctor

- Know your family history and know the signs and symptoms of heart disease.


Over the next 10 years heart disease is expected to rise by 50% in women (and men). 

· Women present differently with heart attack symptoms 

· Menopause and heart disease - it generally increases the risk of heart disease in women 

· It's not the fancy stuff that makes you live longer - it's about the basics: weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, being active and keeping the diabetes away. 

· Smoking - it's bad for everyone - but it is even worse for women because they metabolise nicotine a lot faster than men.

· Women are under-represented in research 

· Women are too busy worrying about everyone else's health to worry about their own 

· Rising obesity - important to eat well 

· Not being active - is as big a risk to health as smoking, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol.

 

 

Facts about Heart Disease :

· Heart disease and stroke is the no.1 killer of women in Ireland

· Nearly 5,000 women die from it here each year

· Irish women 7 times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer

· Many women think heart disease is a man's disease

· Good news is, many heart attacks are preventable


Heart attack symptoms :

· Chest discomfort, squeezing, pain in the centre of the chest

· Discomfort of pain spreading to shoulders, neck, upper arms or jaw

· Shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue

· Feeling of nausea or breaking out in a cold sweat

· Anxiety or unusual nervousness

 

 

 

 

Take action for your heart health :

· Be active

· Eat a healthy diet

· Manage your weight

· If you smoke, try to stop

· Drink less alcohol

· Enjoy life, relax

· Blood pressure/cholesterol check ups

· Know your family history