The effect of heart disease on women is at the centre of a new campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Edwina Currie said heart disease was not "just a man's disease"
The charity said one in three women - 2,400 a week in the UK - died from heart and circulatory disease.
Despite this many women were unaware that heart disease was a bigger killer than breast cancer, it said.
The BHF has put up temporary cardboard gravestones in five UK cities to launch its Help a Heart Week campaign, which aims to raise £1 million.
The heart-shaped headstones have been erected in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Spokeswoman Aneesha Moreira said: "The gravestones send out a hard-hitting message that thousands of women of all ages and from all walks of life are lost to heart and circulatory disease each week."
She urged the public to "raise much-needed funds and help us continue our lifesaving research".
BHF patron Edwina Currie, who was at the London launch in Soho Square, said heart disease was "rife" in her family.
She said: "Today is an emotional day for me, as not only is the BHF campaign a reminder of my father and other loved ones I have lost to heart disease, but also the fact that like thousands of other women, I know I am at risk too.
"I fully support any initiative that can help the BHF raise funds for its lifesaving work and make more women aware that heart disease is not just a man's disease," she added.
"One unnecessary or preventable death is one too many."
A 2002 BHF survey found only a quarter of the 1,029 women questioned correctly identified coronary heart disease as the number one risk to their lives.