Women are far less likely to survive a heart attack than men, according to figures released by the Heart Foundation.
They show thousands more men suffer heart attacks than women, but the death toll is around 4500 a year for both genders.
Part of the problem is that women are slower to recognise the warning signs and slower to seek help, says the foundation’s Julie Anne Mitchell, marking the launch of the Go Red for Women awareness campaign.
The foundation has conducted a study that shows symptoms differ for men and women. Fewer than a third of women experience chest pain and more than 40 per cent suffer pain in the arm.
Women are also far less likely to seek urgent medical help than men.
‘This is alarming because the faster you get to hospital the better your chances of survival,’ Ms Mitchell says.
Once at hospital, she says women are also less likely than men to receive angiograms, bypasses and stents.
‘Women have a higher in-hospital death rate and if they do survive, they’re more likely than men to die of a second heart attack.’
It’s essential for women to learn all the warning signs and to act quickly by calling triple-zero for help, she says.
‘Heart disease is the single biggest killer of Australian women, killing three times more than breast cancer.’