Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease and stroke combined, is the leading cause of death among women in Singapore but many are still unaware of the dangers posed by this “silent killer”.

The 2020 Go Red For Women Survey commissioned by Singapore Heart Foundation reveals that only 9% of the Singaporean women (vs 10% in 2016 and 9% in 2010) know that heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death for women in Singapore.

The results of the Go Red for Women Survey conducted in 2020 also found that:

  • Only 8% had a conversation on cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related topics with their doctor in the past 12 months.
  • 17% are hypertension patients who own a blood pressure (BP) monitor (vs 12% in 2016).
  • 73% can identify chest pain and 59% identify shortness of breath as the more common warning signs of heart attack.
  • Overweight, obesity and physical inactivity are more prevalent among those aged 50 to 64.
  • 8 out of 10 females say they feel more motivated when exercising with their partner, families or friends.
  • 54% of those aged 21 – 34 believe they are not at risk of heart diseases.

Other alarming findings of the 2016 survey were:

  • Only 10% of respondents were aware that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Singaporean women.
  • 51% of respondents aged 21 – 34 years old believed they are not at risk for heart diseases.
  • 56% and 43% of respondents were aware that chest pain and shortness of breath are the warning symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Healthy awareness (96%) that exercise prevents or reduces the risk of heart diseases with 8 out of 10 women engaged in at least some form of moderate exercise weekly.

There were however, some positive trends in the 2013 survey. Some included:

  • Increased ownership of electronic blood pressure (BP) monitors, indicated greater awareness of BP being a significant risk factor and motivation to want to keep it under control, with over a third (37%) respondents owning a monitor at home.
  • More than three-fifths of respondents knew their good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels – an encouraging sign, as SHF often drives home the message for women to “know their numbers”.
  • The majority of respondents fell within the healthy weight range with an average BMI (Body Mass Index) at 22.8.
  • Most respondents (87%) understood that heart disease develops gradually over many years and can go undetected, but there was a split in the belief that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women.
  • High level of agreement (88%) that exercise is one way to prevent or reduce risk of heart disease, followed by reducing stress (68%), reducing cholesterol (66%), and quitting smoking (61%).
  • Over 65% of respondents exercised at least once a week.