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Heart disease not just a ‘man’s disease’

Heart disease not just a ‘man’s disease’

New Zealand women are being encouraged to take charge of their heart health this month as the Heart Foundation runs its annual Go Red for Women campaign.

Heart disease continues to claim the lives of more than 50 Kiwi women every week, with a number of these deaths being both premature and preventable.

Gerry Devlin, Heart Foundation Medical Director, says there is a common misperception in society of heart disease being a ‘man’s disease’.

“Heart disease is indeed the biggest killer of men in New Zealand but it is also the number one cause of death for women. We’re losing thousands of Kiwi women every year to a disease which is, in a number of cases, preventable.”

The Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women campaign (www.goredforwomen.org.nz), which runs throughout May, is dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease and helping women learn to look after their hearts.

Devlin says many women place the needs of their loved ones higher up the priority list than their own health needs.

“Women often feel like they can’t take time out to look after themselves because they have so many other things to manage. But how can you take care of all those people in your life if your own health is in jeopardy?”

He says it’s also important for people to realise that the symptoms of a heart attack can vary between men and women.

“Like men, the most common heart attack symptom for women is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely to experience other symptoms, such as discomfort in the upper back, sweating and unusual fatigue.”

Devlin says European women should get their heart checked from the age of 55 but Maori, Pacific and Indo-Asian women need check-ups from the age of 45. Women with other known risk factors – such as a family history of heart attack or stroke, or high blood pressure – should also get their heart checked from 45.

To promote women’s heart health and raise vital funds during the campaign, we are holding four glitzy High Tea events around the country.

A line-up of inspiring guest speakers will talk about women's heart health, the importance of physical activity and delicious heart healthy eating.

High Tea details:

Christchurch on May 23 at Heritage Christchurch, 28 Cathedral Square.
Guest speakers include celebrity chef Ray McVinnie, women’s fitness expert Sally Feinerman, heart attack survivor and businesswoman Helen Thompson-Carter, and Honorary Associate Professor Natalie Walker (University of Auckland).

Queenstown on May 24 at Heritage Queenstown, 91 Fernhill Road.
Guest speakers include celebrity chef Ray McVinnie, women’s fitness expert Sally Feinerman, heart attack survivor and businesswoman Helen Thompson-Carter, and Honorary Associate Professor Natalie Walker (University of Auckland).

Wellington on May 30 at Wellesley Boutique Hotel, 2 Maginnity St.
Guest speakers include women’s fitness expert Sally Feinerman, heart attack survivor and businesswoman Helen Thompson-Carter, Honorary Associate Professor Natalie Walker (University of Auckland) and Healthy Food Guide Editor Niki Bezzant.

Auckland on June 7 at Heritage Auckland Hotel & Conference Centre, 35 Hobson St.
Guest speakers include celebrity chef, dietitian and entrepreneur Nadia Lim, heart attack survivor and businesswoman Helen Thompson-Carter, heart event survivor Nikki Tod, women’s fitness expert Sally Feinerman, and Honorary Associate Professor Natalie Walker (University of Auckland).

Each High Tea event runs from 2:00-4:30pm and tickets are $85 each, or $800 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased from www.eventfinder.co.nz

Jennian Homes is also supporting the Go Red for Women campaign by running its annual series of Mother's Day Fun Runs/Walks on May 10. For more information on a Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk in your area go to www.jennian.co.nz

ENDS

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