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‘Not just a male problem’: push for budget to shine light on disease affecting 2.1m women
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‘Not just a male problem’: push for budget to shine light on disease affecting 2.1m women

Media Release - 11 February 2021

The Heart Foundation is calling on the Federal Government to back a national awareness campaign in the May budget to drive home the risks of heart disease and stroke among women.
An estimated 2.1 million Australian women have cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, blood vessel disease and stroke, and it accounts for about one in four female deaths.
The Foundation’s key asks for the Federal Budget include $12 million for a women and CVD awareness campaign to urge more women to book a Heart Health Check with their GP.
The call comes as a new Heart Foundation survey of 7220 Australians suggests women are less likely than men to have discussed their heart health with a doctor in the past two years (33% versus 43%).
Similarly, the survey found women in the 45-plus age group were far less likely to report having their heart risk assessed by their doctors than men (39% versus 53%).
Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, says the Federal Budget is a critical opportunity to tackle heart health gaps.
“Cardiovascular disease places a huge burden on our healthcare system and communities – and it is a disease that doesn’t discriminate. This is even more critical when the COVID-19 effects on CVD are also considered,” Professor Kelly said.
“Despite common misconceptions, heart conditions are not just a male problem. We know women tend to have poorer outcomes, particularly after a heart attack, and are less likely to be prescribed medications or attend life-saving cardiac rehabilitation.
“Greater awareness, prevention and early detection of cardiovascular disease in women is needed to help address these disparities.”
The call for an awareness campaign around women and CVD has also been flagged in the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030 and the upcoming National Strategic Action Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke.
“Fortunately, there is growing recognition that one’s sex plays a significant role in the development and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and now is the time for action,” Professor Kelly said.
“A public education campaign delivered by the Heart Foundation will be vital to improve awareness of the different risks and symptoms of CVD in women and what the actions are that women and their clinicians can do about it.”
The number of Australians living with cardiovascular disease is set to climb as our population ages, with poor diet, lack of exercise, and high rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol also contributing. 
“Despite the alarming figures, cardiovascular disease is largely preventable,” Professor Kelly said.
“There is much more to be done to prevent millions of Australians from getting heart disease and its related conditions while improving the lives of those living with heart disease.”

Media enquiries
Brigid Simeoni, Media Advisor
M: 0427 619 589 E: brigid.simeoni@heartfoundation.org.au

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