Women's biggest killer

WOMEN are so busy being martyrs and emotional sponges that they are not focusing on preventing their biggest killer — heart disease.

It kills five times the number of women who die from breast cancer.

The Patron of the National Heart Foundation, NSW Governor Marie Bashir, appealed for woman of all ages to take their risk of heart disease seriously.

"Women all over the world . . . tend silently to bear discomfort, pain drudgery and stress . .. acting as the buffer of family pain, being the sponge which absorbs the distress of partners, children and friends," Dr. Bashir said.

She said while stress and overwork alone did not cause heart disease, they often led to other risk factors like smoking and poor diet.

Dr. Lyn Roberts, the head of the heart foundation’s cardiovascular health program, said cardiovascular disease included heart disease, stroke and blood vessel diseases.

"It’s a silent form of disease and one which women often overlook," she said.


The statistics that can’t be ignored

As many women as men die from cardiovascular disease. One in three women around the world will die from heart disease, compared to one in 25 who will die from breast cancer.

Heart failure death rates are 1.5 times higher in women than in men.

In 1995, 16 per cent of women reported cardiovascular conditions compared to 14.5 per cent of men.

In 1998, 15,024 men died from coronary heart disease compared to 12,801 women.