Have a ‘Heart to Heart’ this International Women’s Day to Save Lives

06 Mar 2023

CHSS is calling on women across Scotland to look out for each other’s heart health on International Women’s Day (Wed 8th March)
10 women a day in Scotland die from heart disease but women regularly under-estimate their risk of heart related illness
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is urging women to have a ‘heart to heart’ with other women in their lives on International Women’s Day in a bid to tackle Scotland’s biggest killer.

Around 100,000 women in Scotland are living with heart disease, and 10 women die from the condition every day, making it is one of the most common causes of death for women across the country.

But women often under-estimate their likelihood of dying from a heart attack, falsely believing that breast cancer is more of a risk. There is also a lack of awareness as to how the symptoms of heart attack can be different in women than men. This is in part because much of the research and resulting information has been based on how heart attack symptoms present in men.

The Scottish Government has committed to reducing gender equalities in heart disease as part of its Women’s Health Plan, making sure all women have access to information on risk factors and symptoms. This is a priority for the Women’s Health Champion for Scotland, Dr Anna Glaiser, who was appointed earlier this year.

Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland say if there’s one thing women can do on International Women’s Day it’s talk to their mums, daughters, sisters, lovers and friends about the symptoms of a heart attack – and remind each other when it’s time to seek medical advice. In doing so, they can reduce the risk of the women they love becoming one of the 10 Scottish women who die every day from heart disease.

Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland Clinical Adviser and GP, Dr Amy Small said: “We know that women in Scotland are at significant risk of heart disease and heart attack.

“Heart attack symptoms are often overlooked in women, which is why we need to be looking out for the women in our lives to ensure they are looking after their heart health.

“Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or upper belly (abdomen) discomfort, shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms, nausea, or vomiting are all potentially signs of a heart attack.

“Sweating, light-headedness or dizziness, unusual fatigue and even heartburn could also be linked to heart health.”

“By starting conversations about heart disease risks, including family history, and heart attack symptoms amongst women, we hope more women will seek urgent medical help for heart disease and heart attack.”

Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland Chief Executive Jane-Claire Judson commented: “There is a misconception that heart disease mainly affects men, which leads to women being more likely to dismiss heart attack symptoms as having another cause. This can lead them to delay seeking help or treatment, which in turn can cost lives.

“Women are often too busy looking after others to look after ourselves. This is why we’re urging women to take time to have a heart to heart with the other women in their lives to discuss heart health, and make sure their mums and sisters get the urgent help they need when facing serious heart health conditions.”

To find out more about women’s heart health visit Women’s Heart Health – Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland ( or contact the CHSS Advice Line on 0808 801 0899 or at