Women should be made more aware of the risk of heart disease

Added 30/11/2010

Nurse talking to patient

A survey carried out by the British Heart Foundation polled 4,000 women and found that only 10% over the age of 50 discussed the risk of heart disease with their GP. Women visit their GPs more often than men, so they have more opportunity to discuss heart disease with their doctors.

Many women over the age of 50 don’t even realise they are at risk of heart disease. Some don’t even know how to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack.

The British Heart Foundation carried out another survey of almost 3,000 women to determine whether or not they could recognise a heart attack and know how to react if symptoms arose. Only half said they would call 999 if they felt chest pain and suspected a heart attack. Meanwhile, 11% said they would go to bed to sleep off the symptoms, and 7% would ignore them altogether.

The British Heart Foundation is concerned that women are fobbing off heart disease as an illness that only affects men. A spokesman for the BHF commented on the results of the studies: "These results show serious gaps in the way women are thinking about heart health - they highlight the common myth that heart disease is a middle-aged male health problem which simply doesn’t affect women in the same way."

A heart health check has been launched in England for women over the age of 40 to measure whether or not the patient is at risk of heart disease. The health check is not yet available at all GPs, but it should become more readily available in the near future.

Women, and indeed men, need to be made more aware of the threat of heart disease. Know what to look out for and be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack. If people are made more aware of heart disease and the threat it poses, then more lives could be saved.