Women less likely to survive a heart attack than men

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Alarming statistics show Australian men suffer twice as many heart attacks as women each year, yet the same number of men and women will die from them.

Alarming statistics show Australian men suffer twice as many heart attacks as women each year, yet the same number of men and women will die from them.
 
Each year 36,000 men and 19,000 women are admitted to hospital after a heart attackwhile annual death rates of men and women number 4,700 and 4,500 respectively.
 
Delays in treatment and lack of awareness could be partly to blame for women’s low survival rate according to a new survey of heart attack survivors released by the National Heart Foundation of Australia today. 
 
The survey of 504 heart attack survivors is being used to raise awareness of women’s heart health as part of the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women campaign.
 
The Heart Foundation’s women’s health spokesperson, Julie Anne Mitchell said the survey uncovered a number of key differences for women:
“Part of the reason women are less likely to survive is that they’re slower to recognise the warning signs of a heart attack, slower to seek help, and when they do get to hospital there is evidence to suggest they’re less likely to receive life saving treatment than men,” Ms Mitchell said.
 
The survey shows women often don’t experience the typical warning signs of a heart attack, with only 27% identifying chest pain as first symptom, compared to 37% of men. While more than 40% of women said they didn’t experienced any chest pain during the onset of their heart attack, they were significantly more likely to experience arm pain than men.
 
Women are also far less likely to react by seeking medical help (39% of women compared with 52% of men), but are more likely than men to tell a friend or family member (35% vs 25%).
 
“This is alarming because the faster you get to hospital the better your chances of survival,” Ms Mitchell said.
 
“We also know that women are less likely to receive heart related procedures than men when they reach hospital - such as angiograms, bypasses and stents. On top of that, women have higher in-hospital death rates and if they do survive, they’re more likely than men to die of a second heart attack.
 
“It’s important that women not only  learn all the warning signs of a heart attack but that they act quickly by calling Triple-0 (000) for help. Treatment can start once that call is made.
 
“Many people think that heart disease only affects older men, but in reality heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women, killing three times the number of women of breast cancer,” Ms Mitchell said.
 
Now in its sixth year, the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women campaign helps raise women’s awareness of heart disease. We thank our national campaign supporters Aurizon and Bupa - and national cause supporter Napoleon Perdis for their support of our Go Red for Women activities in June. 
 
As part of its support for Go Red for Women, Bupa has created a new #Heartsalute campaign to help raise awareness of women and heart disease. The social media campaign encourages all Australians to participate by sending a digital salute to the important women in their lives. Visit heartsalute.com.au to send your salute!
Warning Signs of Heart Attack: Heart attack warning signs may include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of the upper body (chest, neck, jaw, arm(s), shoulder(s) or back) in combination with other symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or a cold sweat. 
 
For more information and to download an action plan visit heartattackfacts.org.au or call the Heart Foundation’s Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87.
 
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Media contact:Dominique Lemon National Media Adviser (03) 9321 1533 Mob: 0411 310 997