"If people who have a life-threatening condition cant put self-care first, then we have a problem. Its time to stop seeking approval and recognition. Its time to ask for help and learn to say no. "
Women are dying because they are failing to prioritise their wellbeing, a self-care coach has warned.
Yvonne Bignall, an award-winning women's health advocate, is calling for women to take better care of themselves as a report reveals women needlessly die from heart attacks.
Yvonne, a qualified personal trainer and former bodybuilder from Radstock, said: “It’s time women paid more attention to their own health and wellbeing before it kills them.”
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has revealed more than 8,200 women in England and Wales died over a 10-year period because they did not receive equal treatment to men.
And the calls come as International Self-care Day is marked - an opportunity to promote healthy lifestyle self-care programmes around the world.
Delays in seeking help
And the average delay between the onset of symptoms and arrival at hospital for men was up to three hours and 30 minutes – compared to seven hours and 12 minutes for women.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, BHF associate medical director, said: “In the UK, three women die of coronary heart disease every hour, many of them due to a heart attack.
“We know that women tend to wait longer before calling 999 after first experiencing heart attack symptoms. But that delay can dramatically reduce your chance of survival.”
Their survey found, while there were complex reasons, women are more likely to have caring duties and make sure ‘everything is in order’ before seeking help.
Yvonne, a former air hostess and best-selling author of Suck it Up or Change, said: “On flights we are instructed to put our oxygen masks on first before helping others.
“This works as an analogy for our everyday lives – we can’t fully help others until we’ve attended to our own needs first.
“I know with many of my clients they have been running around taking care of everyone and everything. It’s only when at breaking point that they are forced to put themselves first.”
Studies have indicated there are also gender differences in self-care after heart failure, which is linked to improved quality of life and reduced risk of hospitalisations.
Yvonne, who works with busy professional women to create healthy habits, said: “If people who have a life-threatening condition can’t put self-care first, then we have a problem.
“It’s time to stop seeking approval and recognition. It’s time to ask for help and learn to say no. It’s time to put our physical and emotional needs first. If not, at best it could lead to resentment - at worst it could literally kill us.”
Heart attacks in women and lack of awareness
Coronary heart disease (CHD) kills more than twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK every year and is the single biggest killer of women worldwide. But it is often considered a man’s disease.
Each year 35,000 women are admitted to hospital following a heart - an average of 98 women per day, or 4 per hour.
Common symptoms of a heart attack – for men and women – include pain or discomfort in the chest which occurs suddenly and does not go away.
The pain may spread to arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. It can also include feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.
Less common symptoms include a sudden feeling of anxiety, similar to a panic attack, and excessive coughing or wheezing.
Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, not doing enough physical activity and high blood pressure. Stress has also been linked to a greater risk of heart disease.
Research has shown that healthier lifestyles, such maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise, can significantly reduce the risk of heart failure.
· Yvonne hosts a Women’s Power Hour on Somer Valley every Wednesday at 1pm, where she talks about self-care at home, in the workplace, in relationships and beyond.