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Heart of the matter

Cardboard gravestones send a hard-hitting message about heart disease to women of all ages across the UK

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has put women at the centre of its new heart disease awareness campaign. More than 2,400 women in the UK die from heart and circulatory disease each week, according to the charity, yet many women are still unaware that it is a bigger killer than cancer.

In 2002, a BHF survey revealed that only a quarter of the 1,029 women questioned identified coronary heart disease as the biggest risk to their lives.

The BHF has put up temporary cardboard headstones in five cities across the UK to launch its Help a Heart Week campaign, which aims to raise £1m. The heart-shaped gravestones have been erected in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

BHF spokeswomen, Aneesha Moreira, said the headstones were designed to send out a hard-hitting message about the risks of heart disease in women of all ages.

Awareness is also being raised by an advertising campaign appearing in national newspapers, which uses a smashed perfume bottle labelled Fatal, with the endline For Her to highlight the number of deaths in women from heart disease and asks for donations to support continuing research in this area.

Help a Heart Week comes just days after health experts reassured people that aspirin is the best drug to prevent heart attacks in high-risk individuals. The advice, prompted by suggestions from the British Cardiac Patients' Association that more expensive drugs for heart conditions would save more lives, was backed by the BHF.

Aspirin is the first-choice therapy for people at high risk of having a heart attack and other cardiovascular events, who should be encouraged to take drugs that reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming, according to guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

For more information about Help a Heart Week visit

2nd September 2008


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