Prevent heart attack by living sensibly

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

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.


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.


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 Fatigue.

l Nausea.

l Dizziness.

l Fainting.

l Swollen feet.


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.