A heartfelt storyBy The Heart Foundation | May 14, 12 09:09 AM
Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women. Dreena narrowly escaped adding to that statistic ...
Most Australian women don’t know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Australian women. In fact, heart disease kills four times as many women as breast cancer. That’s almost 11,000 women every year or 29 women per day. Thankfully Dreena was one of the lucky ones.
Dreena Lawrence-Gray, a 45 year old mother and busy manager in local government, knows the impact of heart disease; just three years ago she had a heart attack.
Dreena admits that she was stressed, overweight, and wasn’t taking care of herself. "I needed to set priorities and slow down. I worked full-time, was part business owner of a roller skating rink, had a teenage daughter and served on several committees within the community," she said.
Dreena was alone when she felt the first symptoms of heart attack, but didn’t recognise the warning signs. Instead she went to bed, but couldn’t rest and felt a compulsion to get up and call her mother. Dreena’s mother called the ambulance and it saved her life.
Now, despite a hectic job, Dreena takes time to eat properly and exercise. "Everyone needs to learn about heart disease. I always thought a heart attack happened to elderly people. I was so wrong," she says.
There are multiple risk factors that can increase your chance of developing heart disease. In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor and 50% of women have two or three risk factors. These risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poor nutrition
- Being overweight
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of heart disease or heat attacks.
As Dreena so aptly describes “When it comes to the risk factors for heart disease, I was a hamburger with the lot and didn’t even know it!”. That’s why it’s so important for Australian women to know their numbers:
- Waist measurement
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
And have them checked at least annually.
To unite all women in the fight against heart disease the Heart Foundation runs an annual Go Red for Women campaign, to help raise important awareness and funds. Sign up for the free online Go Red for Women Healthy Heart Challenge that kick offs on 4 June for a six week period.
For Melbourne chicks, grab your girlfriends and attend the, Friday 18 May at the RACV City Club, Melbourne. 2012 Keynote speaker: Author, Kaz Cooke.