Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Australian women, costing the health system $3 billion a year, new research has found.
The Hidden Hearts report from the Mary Mackillop Institute for Health Research at the Australian Catholic University has revealed that cardiovascular disease and associated diseases contribute to at least 31,000 deaths of Australian women every year.
That’s significantly more than the 12,000 deaths attributed to the most common forms of cancer.
Professor Simon Stewart, the principal investigator behind the report, said that low awareness of the risks means that many women ignore the warning signs before suffering a potentially fatal or disabling heart attack.
“The large majority of Australian women are still under the impression that heart disease and stroke are male diseases,” Professor Stewart said.
“This is simply not true and without urgent education, more Australian women are at risk of falling victim to this killer, particularly with their current, high cardiovascular-risk lifestyles.”
“Increased obesity rates mean that all forms of cardiovascular disease are becoming increasingly common in younger women.”
“And with nearly one in three Australian women aged 18 and over considered insufficiently active, and one in five reporting no exercise at all, the likelihood of these young women developing cardiovascular disease in the longer-term is frighteningly high.”
The Hidden Hearts report recommends investment in awareness campaigns, gender-specific guidelines and prevention programs, and targeted research to combat the current and future burden of cardiovascular disease among Australian women.
You can read more about this report here. Story credit: Australian Catholic University newsroom.
Early warnings on women’s health risks are made possible by research at Australia’s universities. If you want to keep Australia clever, please sign the petition below.