Most women do not realise that heart disease is still the single biggest killer of women in New Zealand. Find out what you can do to improve your heart health.
Women are often so busy caring for your families or wider whānau that you don't stop to look after yourselves and take as much care as you should.
Encourage your wife, partner, mother, sister or work colleagues to see their doctor/nurse for a heart check, also known as a cardiovascular risk assessment. And make sure you get one yourself!
When should women start having a heart health check?
- All Māori, Pacific and Indian subcontinent women at age 40.
- All women with known cardiovascular risk factors from age 45.
- All other ethnicities women with no known risk factors from age 55.
- Women with diabetes ‒ once a year from the time of diagnosis.
- Women who have schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or other serious mental illness from age 25.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
- Your genes – if your mother or father first had heart disease at a younger age (before age 55 for men and 65 for women) this can put you at slightly higher risk of heart disease.
- Smoking – this is the number one risk factor for increased risk of heart disease in women and men.
- Being inactive – physical activity is also important for heart health.
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes – if you have poor diabetes control, your risk of heart disease strongly increases.
- Obesity – keeping to a healthy weight is good for your heart.
- Polycystic ovarian disease
Read more about each of these areas at the links above.