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Statistics show that an average of 480 South African women die from cardiovascular disease a year and that one in four will suffer from heart disease before the age of 60.
WOMEN AND HEART DISEASE FACTS
l Heart disease does not only affect older women. It is the leading cause of death for women aged 35 and older.
l Heart disease kills six times as many women as breast cancer.
l Heart disease has killed more women than men every year since 1984, and the death rate is rising.
l Smoking is the first controllable risk factor for heart disease and contributes to the rising death rate in women from cardiovascular disease.
lWomen often experience milder symptoms than men.
l About one-third of women have atypical symptoms of heart disease with no chest pain at all.
l Heart disease symptoms often go unrecognised and untreated in women.
l Women who have heart attacks are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after the incident.
HEART DISEASE SYMPTOMS
l An uneasy feeling in the chest.
l Pain in the shoulder or jaw.
l Abdominal pain.
l A fluttering heartbeat.
l Shortness of breath.
l Swollen feet.
HOW TO PREVENT HEART DISEASE
Know your family history. If your father or any male family member had a stroke or heart attack before the age of 55, or your mother or any female member before the age of 65, your risk of developing heart disease is increased.
Follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Quit smoking.