Health / 29.09.2015

Women and heart attacks: 5 things you need to know

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Cardiovascular disease isn't just a man's problem – get the facts on World Heart Day



1 Cardiovascular diseases kills as many women as men
In fact, more than 30,000 women die from coronary heart disease in the UK every year. That’s three times more than breast cancer (more on that in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month). And, currently over 700,000 women are living with the fallout of cardiovascular disease (CVD; which includes coronary heart disease such as angina and heart attacks, and stroke), according to new research published by the British Heart Foundation.

2 We need to act quicker
After experiencing heart attack symptoms (pain in your chest, back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath or nausea; sweating; fatigue) we’re slower to call 999, claim the BHF. They blame a lack of knowledge about the signs – and our unwillingness to make a fuss.

3 The Pill does not make you immune
Heard that taking the Pill can lower your heart attack risk? It’s true, says Dr Cliff Bucknall, consultant cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital – but your risk does rise significantly after the menopause, and the Pill can have other CVD side effects before this. ‘Different types of hormonal contraception have different effects on the formation of blood clots and potential heart attacks,’ he explains, adding, ‘Discuss the best options that carry the least risk for you with your doctor.’

Read more: The healthy guide to menopause

4 Nor does HRT
This one’s not even half true. ‘HRT will help to relieve menopausal hot flushes and night sweats, but don’t expect it to help your heart. Recent research now suggests that HRT isn’t heart protective and, as with all drug treatments, there are potential side effects.’

5 You can slash your risk in minutes
Well, sort of – when you break it down. The BHF recommends taking time each day (it can be as little as 10 minutes!) to show your heart some love, by eating better, or moving more. Discover a whole week’s worth of inspiration from us right here.

Want more information on women and heart attacks? Click here for expert advice from the BHF.

Women and heart attacks: 5 things you need to know
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Women and heart attacks: 5 things you need to know
Cardiovascular disease is not just a man's problem – get the facts on women and heart attacks this World Heart Day
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