Are you surprised to hear that heart disease is the biggest cause of death in women in Australia?
Kiama Council and the Heart Foundation have teamed up for the month of June to shine a light on a ‘hidden killer’ of Australian women.
Deputy Mayor Kathy Rice, long an advocate of Healthy Cities, says she was surprised, even though she has known of women who have died that way.
“I think most people would naturally assume that breast cancer was the bigger killer,” she says.
“But 24 women die from heart disease every day. That means three times as many women die of heart disease as from breast cancer each year.”
She says many women ignore the symptoms because their importance isn’t recognised.
“Some of the symptoms could easily be dismissed by a woman leading a busy life, causing them to not seek help early enough.
“That’s why the Council is proud to support the Heart Foundation’s awareness campaign about heart disease and women: Making the Invisible Visible.”
The Heart Foundation’s Andy Mark says the campaign got its name because heart disease amongst women does not get the publicity that it deserves.
“This June we are asking people to learn more about this ‘hidden killer’ and spread the word so we can start doing something more about it,” he says.
“You can make a red heart visible somewhere on your body, record a short video capturing your heart story, donate online and share on social media using the hashtag #womenshearts.”
Councillor Rice encourages women to take simple steps to avoid heart disease.
“The Kiama Leisure Centre, and many other gyms offer programs designed for women to avoid heart disease.
“The Heart Foundation also has walking groups in our region which are easy to join at any time and are an enjoyable way to exercise.”
A 2010 national report on Australian women found that the most common risk factors affecting women were high cholesterol, high rates of overweight and obesity and high rates of physical inactivity. Research also shows that smoking, poorly controlled diabetes and depression are greater risk factors of heart disease for women than men.
Details: Further information about the campaign is available at: www.invisiblevisible.org.au
Walking is a great way to reduce your risk. The Heart Foundation has walking groups at Kiama (Mon to Fri, 8am, from opposite the Commonwealth Bank);
and Gerringong (Mon 8am, opp Bowls Club).