BRISBANE, Australia — Australian researchers call for urgent action to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease in women — the leading cause of death for women worldwide.

The first global report on the issue urges action to tackle inequities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart disease.

Seventeen experts from 11 countries, including Australia, authored the study, which found heart, stroke, and blood vessel disease in women was understudied, under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and under-treated.

Around 2.1 million Australian women have cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, and it accounts for about one-in-four female deaths.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for 35 percent of women’s deaths worldwide each year.

The report reinforces strategies to reduce heart disease in women should be targeted to the most vulnerable people globally, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia. (Robina Weermeijer/Unsplash)

The all-female-led commission outlines 10 new recommendations to tackle inequities in targeting diagnosis, treatment, and prevention to reduce cardiovascular disease in women.

They include health professional and patient education, more heart health programs, and prioritizing research on heart disease in women.

Heart Foundation Director of Health Strategy, Julie Anne Mitchell, said more needed to be done to increase awareness.

“But more work is also needed to address knowledge gaps and the barriers women face in getting access to services that best meet their needs,” she said in a statement. “This report reinforces that strategies to reduce heart disease in women should be targeted to the most vulnerable people globally, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are almost twice as likely as non-Indigenous women to have heart, stroke, and vascular disease.

“We also support the report’s finding of the barriers that exist to healthcare for women living in disadvantaged, rural, and remote areas,” said Mitchell. “Telehealth is one of the essential tools to address inequity by delivering heart health care to women no matter where they live.”

Women and cardiovascular disease Commission: reducing the global burden by 2030, is published in the Lancet.

As per reports by the Australian Government Department of Health, Cardiovascular disease has a significant impact on Australians. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia — causing 12 percent of all deaths (43 percent of cardiovascular disease deaths). Stroke causes around 5 percent of all deaths (19 percent of deaths due to cardiovascular disease).

“The Cardiovascular Health Mission is an AU$220 million ($171 million) research fund that will support a large program of work over 10 years to improve heart health and reduce stroke in Australia,” states the report. “The term ‘cardiovascular disease’ includes many different conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. The most common and severe types of cardiovascular disease are coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.”

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Saptak Datta)

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