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The risk of heart disease for women

If you think heart disease isn’t a problem for women, think again. 

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in Australia and claims four times as many victims as breast cancer every year.

According to the Heart Foundation of Australia, it’s the number one killer of women in Australia and claims four times as many victims as breast cancer every year2. In fact, the Heart Foundation points out that a female is just as likely to die from a heart attack as a male1.

The good news is that many of the risk factors are manageable, meaning you can help prevent heart disease by leading a healthy lifestyle: eating low-fat foods, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring your cholesterol and blood pressure, and not smoking.

Being able to recognise the warning signs of a heart attack is also vital – the Heart Foundation says people treated within an hour of their first heart attack symptom have the greatest chance of surviving.

These warning symptoms vary from person to person and may not be sudden or severe. For many women, the typical signs of crushing chest pain and dramatic collapse can be far less pronounced or even completely absent, while other symptoms like shortness of breath, weakness, cold sweats, dizziness, pain in the jaw or back and nausea are often more common.

For further information on heart attacks, visit or call 1300 362 787.

Information provided in this article is not medical advice and you should consult with your healthcare practitioner. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.


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