Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Australian women, says a new study. Exceeding the 12,000 deaths from common forms of cancer – including breast cancer – heart disease has become the new number-one killer of women.
The study, conducted by the Australian Catholic University’s Mary McKillop Institute for Health, analysed not only heart attack and stroke, but associated diseases such as diabetes and kidney failure.
The Hidden Hearts: Cardiovascular Risk and Diseases report that followed found that more than 31,000 women die from heart disease each year.
Professor Maja-Lisa Lochan, one of the report’s head researchers, said many risk factors were related to lifestyle and “Sixty per cent of the causes of heart disease in women and related issues are preventable.”
As the obesity epidemic continues to rise in Australia, even younger women are becoming susceptible to heart disease.
Of the 31,000 deaths, it was reported that 3000 women died before they even went to hospital for treatment. Professor Lochan said this would a result of many women failing to recognise symptoms and warning signs.
“They often think it’s asthma, tiredness, influenza and … often related to diseases other than heart disease,” she said.
She said the number of heart-disease related deaths could be lowered if individuals tackled the causative factors. These are high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.
“It has to do with the Australian diet, which has a high content of sugar. All these risk factors are related to lifestyle and treatable conditions,” said Professor Lochan.
Read more at abc.net.au