Most women 'unaware of heart risks'
Most women in Northern Ireland are unaware of the risks of heart disease, according to a survey.
Only 12% said they would call 999 on suffering symptoms and most of those in danger said they had not discussed the matter with their doctors.
Some would sit down or go to bed instead of calling for help, research for the British Heart Foundation said.
Community development worker Stephanie Leckey added: "These results show serious gaps in the way women are thinking about their heart health. They highlight the common myth that heart disease is a middle-aged male health problem which simply doesn't affect women in the same way."
According to the charity more than 1,000 women die from heart disease every year and it kills three times more than breast cancer. Despite this only 8% of women in Northern Ireland aged over 40 said their doctor had discussed it with them.
The charity carried out a survey of 100 people aged over 40 last month.
Ms Leckey added all women aged over 40 were entitled to a free health check which takes just a few minutes.
"The truth is too many lives are lost each year to a killer which is largely preventable," she added. We need to help Northern Ireland women look after their hearts now and protect their health in the future."
Elaine Armstrong, 45, from Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, was admitted to hospital in April 2008 after experiencing chest pains and underwent double by-pass surgery. She only sought help after her mother recognised the symptoms. "Looking back, I was so scared, if I had known how serious my condition was I would have dialled 999 immediately," she said.
The British Heart Foundation is asking women to taken an online lifestyle check at www.anginamonologues.co.uk.