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Published: Thursday March 8, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday May 25, 2013 MYT 11:30:30 PM

Women often pay no attention to the symptoms of heart attacks and strokes

PETALING JAYA: If there is one thing women should do for themselves today for International Women's Day (IWD), it is to love their hearts more.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Jeyamalar Rajadurai said Malaysian women often fell prey to heart attacks and strokes.

“There is a general perception that cancer is the main cause of death. The truth is that heart attacks and strokes have killed more Malaysian women in the last decade or so,” she said.

“Cancer usually affects women in their 40s, but heart disease happens after menopause.

“When women in their 60s or 70s die in their sleep due to heart attacks, people tend to think that their deaths were due to old age,” said Dr Jeyamalar, also Women's Heart Health Organisation secretary.

Women do not usually experience typical symptoms such as chest pain, therefore putting them at higher risk of death as they would delay seeking medical consultation.

Dr Jeyamalar said common symptoms of heart attacks in women such as gastric pain as well as pain in the neck and shoulder were related to the heart.

“Unfortunately, many of the women who go through these think nothing of it,” she added, advising women to get their hearts checked, especially when perspiration occurs simultaneously with any of the symptoms.

Dr Jeyamalar also urged women who have diabetes, high cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease to check their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels annually.

In conjunction with IWD, Women, Family and Community Develop-ment Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil reminded all women that their talent, ability and resourcefulness were crucial for the country to move forward.

“Let's use this occasion to review how far we have come in our struggles and continue to reach out.

“Remember, progress for women is progress for all,” she said.

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