May is Women’s Heart Health Awareness Month.

Heart disease is the biggest killer of women in New Zealand. It claims more than 3,000 of our mothers, sisters, daughters and grandmothers every year.
Over 75,000 women are living with heart disease in New Zealand and more than 50 Kiwi women lose their battle with heart disease every week, and what’s worse is that most of these deaths are premature and preventable.

Many people are simply not aware of this tragic statistic, partly because heart disease is often seen as being a ‘man’s disease’. This means many women are unaware of the risk factors for heart disease and less likely to recognise the signs of a heart attack. Women are also slower to seek medical attention, meaning they are more at risk of permanently damaging their heart, or of dying.The good news is there are things you can do to lower your risk of heart disease. Such as stop smoking, make heart healthy eating and drinking choices, move more, lose weight and take your medications.

Our Manaaki Manawa (Cardiac Rehabilitation) team provide one on one support for all patients who have had a heart attack, heart surgery, or who have heart disease.

Our cardiac registered nurse Jennifer Boylett and kaiawhina Kiriwai Flavell, run a 12-week programme which includes advice and support on risk factors, heart health, stress management, medications and nutrition and exercise
This programme can be delivered in your home, marae or community setting. They also provide health screening for all persons who may be at risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease.

Kiriwai has worked in her role for two years and feels it is a privilege to be able to go into people’s homes and support whanau towards better heart health.

“Whanau have literally been given a second chance at life.  It is vitally important to always listen to the patient and their whanau.  By establishing a rapport and relationship they know we will support them over the next 12 weeks.  They give us the permission to be an advocate for them with their GP, cardiologist, employer or any social agency they require.”

New kaimahi Jennifer has only recently begun her role with the Manaaki Manawa team, having moved to NZ from the UK in 2014. Having had experience working in ER and surgical wards, Jennifer is looking forward to helping and supporting her clients with cardiac support.

‘Te rongoā tῡturu o ngā tῡpuna i te korero – The original medicine of our ancestors is to share our experiences with one another.’

For more information please contact Manaaki Manawa at Te Hiku Hauora Ph 408 4024.