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”.

In the Singapore Heart Foundation’s Go Red For Women Survey in 2010, only 9% of the Singaporean women (8% in 2006 and 9% in 2009) knew that heart disease and stroke is the No. 1 killer of women.

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.