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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of Australian women

Photo: Heart disease kills more women than cancer
A new report has revealed the hidden cost of cardiovascular disease among women, which contributes to 31,000 deaths of Australian women each year.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of Australian women, costing the health system $3 billion a year, according to a new report.

The Hidden Hearts: Cardiovascular Risk and Disease in Australian Women report shows CVD and associated diseases such as diabetes and kidney failure contribute to at least 31,000 deaths of Australian women every year.

This is significantly more than the 12,000 deaths attributed to the most common forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

More than 3000 women each year will suffer a sudden and fatal heart attack, and of those who survive a heart attack or stroke more than a third die within 12 months.
The report will be presented at a special summit at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

The research, conducted by the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, also found one in nine women admitted to hospital for the first time with coronary artery disease (CAD) dies within 28 days.

Lead researcher Professor Simon Stewart says a large majority of Australian women are still under the impression that heart disease and stroke are male diseases.

"This is simply not true and without urgent education, more Australian women are at risk of falling victim to this killer, particularly with their current, high cardiovascular-risk lifestyles."

As obesity rates increase and activity levels drop, Prof Stewart says the likelihood of young women developing CVD in the long-term is "frighteningly high" and governments must respond now.

"It's imperative that our governments and health authorities implement a dedicated response, and ensure these unnecessary deaths are prevented," he said.

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