When 58-year-old Rita (not her real name) experienced episodes of gastric pain and chest fullness, she put it down to the effects of ageing and did not give it much thought.
When the problem persisted, she went to see a general practitioner who prescribed her gastric medication.
One night after a bad episode of "gastritis", Rita, who has a family history of heart disease and has high blood pressure, took her gastric medication and went to bed.
She never woke up. She died of a heart attack in her sleep.
Scary as it sounds, many women, especially those in the post menopausal age, have no inkling that they could be suffering from cardiovascular diseases as unlike men, they rarely display the classic symptoms of a heart attack such as chest pain.
Dr Jeyamalar Rajadurai says many are unaware that cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death among women in Malaysia.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is now the main cause of medically-certified deaths among Malaysian women, with one in four dying of heart failure.
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