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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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South Lakes campaigner gives backing to new heart disease drive

HEART disease is claiming the lives of hundreds of women every year, figures have revealed.

Statistics released by the British Heart Foundation show South Lakeland has the highest female death rates due to coronary and circulatory conditions in Cumbria, the number of women lost each year standing at 210. In Barrow, that figure is 120 and in Copeland, 100.

It comes as the charity promotes a new virtual “Women’s Room”. The online hub provides support, advice and information for the 435,000 women in the North West living with heart disease, as well as raising awareness about the risks.

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.’

The BHF drive has won the support of former Barrow mayor, John Murphy, who lost his wife of 44 years to a heart attack in March last year.

Eleanor Murphy, 63, had been the driving force behind her husband’s hugely successful mayoral campaign to fund and install life-saving defibrillators all over the borough.

Mr Murphy said: “Anything that can raise any awareness to stop people going through what we went through as a family can only be a good thing.

“Eleanor’s legacy is that it’s inspired me, and others, to try and save more lives. But we’ve got to get the prevention right as well as providing the cure. These defibrillators wouldn’t be so badly needed if we could do that.”

The BHF Women’s Room, as well as offering advice and support for those with a diagnosed condition, provides information for all women on how to stay fit and healthy.

The charity also encourages women to act on any concerns about their health.

Echoing this, Mr Murphy said: “Eleanor led a healthy, active lifestyle, but her dad died at the same age she did, so I get the feeling this was a genetic thing.

“It’s also a case of being aware, of not ignoring anything that could be an early warning sign and not being afraid to say, ‘There’s something I’m worried about’.”

Visit www.bhf.org.uk/women to find out more.

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