Women are being urged not to ignore the symptoms of heart disease as figures shows it is the biggest killer of females in the
Heart Disease Risk To Young Women
Young women are being warned not to fall for the stereotypical belief that overweight, unfit men are the only ones at risk of heart attacks.On the contrary, research shows more women suffer from cardiovascular problems in the UK than men.
According to British Heart Foundation (BHF) figures 710,000 women aged 16-44 are living with heart disease, compared to 570,000 men.
It is the biggest killer of females in the UK - more than 30,500 die from it each year, three times the number of women killed by breast cancer.
Michelle White, a mother of three from Manchester, was diagnosed with congenital heart disease at the age of 26.
Her frequent fainting spells had been put down to stress, but after she collapsed at work doctors found she was "a walking time bomb" because her heart was so enlarged and needed operating on.
"When I heard I thought 'they've got my results mixed up, there's no way it could be me.' I did contemporary dance, very athletic, so I was in denial, I just thought they'd got it completely wrong."
Doctors believe the higher rates among women are due in part to their susceptibility to certain rarer diseases, such as coronary artery dissection, where around eight out of 10 cases are women.
There is also the problem that traditionally women have been under-represented in clinical research.
Cardiologist Jane Flint said: "The truth is women under 50 often do worse after a heart attack because of the difficulty of recognition and lack of awareness that their risk is important."
But she added that even health professionals can fail to recognise women's potential vulnerability.
BHF has created an online hub called 'Women's Room' for those living with heart disease or who are worried about their health.