One Life Every Minute

Cardiac deaths among men have declined over the last 25 years, but disease rates in women have not experienced the same downward trend. Learn to recognize the warning signs and how you can be proactive in staying heart-healthy.

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Facts About Women and Heart Disease

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.
  • Globally, 46% of all women’s death are caused by heart disease. 
  • On average, women experience their first heart attack at age 70.
  • Only 1 in 8 women report chest pain during a heart attack. Instead women report pressure, aching and tightness in the chest, jaw and back and sometimes even flu-like symptoms.
  • Only 13% of women list heart disease as their greatest health risk. But it claims the lives of men and women equally, totaling 500,000 deaths a year in the U.S.
  • Women often think their heart attack symptoms are from less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.
  • Heart disease doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men.

Women’s risk factors

  • Changes in hormone levels prior to and after menopause
  • Hypertension during pregnancy and menopause
  • Stress and depression
  • Autoimmune diseases

Sources:

“Gender and Heart Disease.” Go Red for Women, https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/find-out-your-risk/gender-heart-disease. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.

“Gender Matters: Heart Disease Risk in Women.” Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School, 2008, http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/gender-matters-heart-disease-risk-in-women. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.

Barouch, Lili. “Heart Disease: Differences in Men and Women.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/clinical_services/centers_excellence/womens_cardiovascular_health_center/patient_information/health_topics/heart_disease_gender_differences.html. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.

“Heart disease in women: Understand Symptoms and Risk Factors.” Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.

“Women’s Health.” World Health Organization. 2013, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs334/en. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.

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