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Health Minister urges women to look after their hearts.



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Media Release Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

KP39/02 2 May, 2002

HEALTH MINISTER URGES WOMEN TO LOOK AFTER THEIR HEARTS The Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, today supported calls for Australian women to recognise the risk factors for heart attack and to become more physically active and improve their quality of life.

She also congratulated the Heart Foundation in taking the initiative in launching the "Women and Heart Attack - Every Minute Counts" Media Event in Sydney, which focuses on the importance of heart attacks in women.

Speaking in support of Heart Week, which started on Sunday, Senator Patterson warned that heart attack is too often seen as a condition affecting men, rather than as a problem for the whole community.

While 15,000 men died of coronary heart disease in 1998, over 12,000 women also died of the disease. In fact coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in Australia.

"Heart attack is mostly preventable," Senator Patterson said. "I would like to see women - as well as men, adopting healthy lifestyle practices which as well as reducing their chance of suffering heart attack will also lead to an overall sense of well being."

High levels of blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity and being overweight significantly increase the risk of heart attack.

For women who are unfortunate enough to have a heart attack or experience heart problems it is not too late as adopting healthy behaviours will reduce your chances of have a second event.

"Evidence shows that Australian women are becoming less active," said Senator Patterson. "Women often say they don't have time to exercise and yet really it doesn't take much time. Ten minutes three times a day is all it takes to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and control blood pressure."

As a woman, Senator Patterson knows how important regular exercise is. She walks every day and on weekends she swims and cycles.

"I know that it is not always easy to change behaviour patterns and I recognise that messages need to be targeted to reach different groups in the community. That is why I commend the Heart Foundation not only for the initiative in launching this national campaign but also in the numerous activities they are involved with to deliver the health prevention messages about coronary heart disease," said Senator Patterson.

Media Contact: Randal Markey, Senator Patterson's office: (03) 9657 9577 Robyn Hall, Department of Health and Ageing: (02) 6289 5485

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Published on Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing web site 2 May 2002 Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2002/kp/kp02039.htm