WOMEN are more likely to die of heart disease in County Durham than anywhere else in the region, new figures show.
The statistics, released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), come as the charity opens its first ever virtual “Women’s Room” to raise awareness of the problem.
More than 176,000 women in the North East live with a heart or circulatory condition, and thousands die from the disease every year.
Using mortality data from national statistical agencies, NHS surveys and GP patient registers, the BHF estimates that 750 women die from heart disease in County Durham every year, while 400 die in Sunderland.
The figures show the average number of women dying from heart disease in each local authority area every year is 295.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the BHF, said: “Coronary heart disease kills nearly three times as many women as breast cancer.
“Yet, as a society we continue to prop up the myth that heart problems are just for men.
“Everything from TV adverts to soap plotlines show men with heart conditions, but it’s incredibly rare to hear about a woman with heart disease.”
She added: “As a result, women often feel very isolated when they’re diagnosed with a heart condition.
“We want to shout from the rooftops that if you’re a woman living with heart disease, you are not alone. Our Women’s Room can give you the ‘informational hug’ you need and introduce you to other women just like you.”
The Women’s Room is an online hub available 24 hours a day which allows women with heart conditions to share their experiences and find support from others who know exactly what they’re going through in a women-only online forum.
It features stories of real women living with coronary disease and offers practical information to help them adjust to life with a heart condition, such as how to tell colleagues, family and friends about their illness, how to deal with work issues, what to do about finances and how to cope when upset or stressed.
The hub can be found at www.bhf.org.uk/women.