The number of younger women being hospitalised for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks is rising – and weight gain could be largely to blame.
A new study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that while the total number of women suffering from the disease is in decline, the younger generation of women were becoming more at risk.
The study found 510,000 Australian women had a cardiovascular disease between 2017 and 2018 and the condition accounted for almost one third of all deaths among women.
Despite the overall decrease in hospitalisation rates among all women in the decade to 2016, rates rose for younger women.
A new study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found the younger generation of women at risk of cardiovascular diseases was rising (File picture)
It increased by 11 per cent for those aged 25-34, and by 4.7 per cent for those aged 35-44.
And while the overall incidence of strokes for women also fell by 25 per cent between 2001 and 2015, rates rose among younger women – by 16 per cent for those aged 35-44, and by 12 per cent for those aged 45-54.
The top behavioural and biomedical risk factors for contracting such a disease was predominately based on diet, exercise and whether or not she was overweight.
During the period the study was conducted, 60 per cent of Australian women were classified as overweight.
The top behavioural and biomedical risk factors for contracting such a disease was predominately based on what a woman consumed and whether or not she was overweight (Diagram from Cardiovascular Disease in Australian Women report)
Alarming 89 per cent of women were not eating enough vegetables and 59 per cent were found not to be getting enough exercise.
The study found 44 per cent were not eating enough fruit and 8.9 per cent drunk more than is recommended amount.
The dietary and weight risks remained even as another significant risk factor declined, with the number of women who smoked dropping from 24 per cent in 1989-90 to 11 per cent in 2017-18.
Another positive trend revealed in the report showed between 2001 and 2016, the rate of acute coronary events such as heart attacks or unstable angina among women fell by 57 per cent.
Alarming 89 per cent of women were not eating enough vegetables and 59 per cent were found not to be getting enough exercise (File picture)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were almost twice as likely as non-indigenous women to have CVD, and four times as likely to have a CVD-related hospitalisation.
Spokeswoman at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Miriam Lum On said the report offered no explanation for the findings and more research was needed.
But she said more women were aware of how to treat and prevent CVD, and the decline in smoking and the introduction of certain interventions and treatments had helped reduce the number of overall deaths.
‘It is a positive story but cardiovascular disease is still a leading cause of death among Australian women and that’s something we need to recognise,’ she said.
Cardiovascular disease is a broad term used to describe the many different conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.
The report entitled, Cardiovascular Disease in Australian Women – A Snapshot of National Statistics, was released on Tuesday.