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Women unaware of heart disease risk

A survey of women's awareness of risks to their health has found two thirds don't know heart disease is their main killer.

The study also found that more than three quarters of British women have no idea they are at greatest risk once they have gone through the menopause.

Almost half of respondents thought the decline in oestrogen as a result of the menopause either had no effect on, or reduced, cholesterol levels.

Heart disease accounts for 275 deaths in the UK every day, according to the British Heart Foundation.

The research found some 64% of women do not know that high cholesterol is one of the primary causes of the disease.

Women will be able to have their cholesterol levels tested for free and receive advice when Benecol's Women Against Cholesterol campaign tours shopping centres in Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham and Leeds next month.

Dr Rosemary Leonard said: "It is essential that we help women to understand the influences and risks associated with high cholesterol and heart disease - it is after all, the biggest killer of women in the UK, killing around 50,000 women a year.

"Many women wrongly believe that men are more prone to high cholesterol, when in fact women over the age of 55 have a higher average cholesterol level than men of the same age."

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