A new national survey found women are more worried about weight and aging, than cancer or heart disease.
- Women say they’re more worried about weight than heart health.
- Heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women.
- 69% of women say they don’t know how to recognise a heart attack.
The 2015 ‘Women’s health information needs in Australia’ online survey reached 3,325 women from a range of ages, backgrounds and locations across the country.
It found that the most common concern among women is about healthy living, including their diet, physical activity, weight and aging.
Ten per cent of the women surveyed said that they were worried about female-specific cancers, and 1 in 10 worried about their mental and emotional health.
Only five per cent said they were concerned about cardiovascular health, even though heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women.
The Heart Foundation’s Kerry Doyle says the low awareness of heart health among women is concerning.
“I’d encourage women very strongly to look beyond their weight and think more about their overall heart health and wellness,” she says.
According to the survey author Dr Mandy Deeks from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, there is a misconception that heart attacks mainly affect men
“Women are living much longer, so the longer we live the more at risk we are of heart disease and I think the risk perception of women is more focused on cancer,” Dr Deeks says.
Statistics from the Heart Foundation show women are almost three times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer.
“Women need to get beyond the stereotypes, and they need to take as good care of their heart health as they do their breast health,” says Doyle.
Almost 70 per cent of women surveyed said they knew little about the signs and symptoms of heart attack or heart disease.
“Unless women recognise this is an issue that affects them they’re actually not going to ask their doctor or anyone about the risks and warning signs,” says the Heart Foundation’s Kerry Doyle.
While women indicated that a lack of time and motivation were the biggest health obstacles, the health professionals surveyed believe many women are unsure about how to stay healthy.
“Every day we see messages about healthy living and what to do, but it’s quite confusing when you have too much information,” says Dr Deeks.
“We want to make sure any information women get is evidence-based,” she says.
If you’re worried about your heart health experts recommend:
- Quit smoking.
- Be active for 30 mins or more a day.
- Avoid saturated fats.
- Eat five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit each day.
- Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.
- Reduce your salt intake.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Drink no more than 2 units of alcohol a day.
- Speak to your doctor if you have any health concerns.