IRISH women are seven times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer but do not take the illness seriously enough.
Over 200 women dressed in pink and red took to the streets of Galway yesterday for the 'Women at Heart' Campaign.
It aims to raise awareness that women experience different symptoms of heart attack than men and are less likely to be sent on for further tests by medical staff.
Neil Johnson of Croi – an Irish heart and stroke charity – said that women tended to be less concerned about their own health when they were busy caring for families.
"It's a struggle for women to make the time to go to their GP and when they go there the symptoms they present with are not the typical symptoms. They might be feeling nausea or flu-like symptoms, maybe a pain in between the shoulders as opposed to central chest pain. They can be more vague symptoms instead of the more stereotypical pain in my chest running down my left arm.
"And evidence is there that when they present in hospital they actually are less likely to be sent for cardiac diagnostics than men.
"So there is a real need for more awareness among women themselves and among the medical profession to act a bit more quickly," he added.
Karen Maloney, senior fundraiser with Croi, said women of all ages needed to be aware of the risks.
"People associate cardiovascular disease with middle-aged men but it actually affects as many women as men and we wanted to create that awareness and get the word out there and let women know that they are at risk. One out of every two Irish women will die from cardiovascular disease... so it's huge," she said.
Croi is inviting women of all ages to a free public talk in the Croi Heart and Stroke Centre in Newcastle, Galway, on Wednesday at 8pm where consultant cardiologist Blaithnaid Murtagh will outline the 'heart facts for every woman'. Free blood pressure and pulse checks will also be offered between 2pm and 7pm.