Women and Heart Disease: Know the Signs
It's often thought that heart disease only affects men, but it affects women too.
- 44 million women are affected every year.
- 1 in 4 deaths in women result from heart disease.
- 90% of all women have one or more heart disease risk factors.
The good news:
- 80% of risk factors can be controlled through lifestyle changes.
- Greater awareness can improve the chance of catching heart disease sooner.
Why isn't heart disease detected in women more often?
- Symptoms can often be different than the well-known symptoms in men.
- Some women show no symptoms.
- Noticeable symptoms may be ignored or dismissed.
What are the traditional risk factors for heart disease?
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
*Carries greater risk in women
What are the unique risk factors for women:
- Mental stress and depression
- Pregnancy complications
Symptoms and signs common in women:
- Neck, jaw, shoulder or upper back discomfort
- Chest pain, pressure or discomfort
- Pain in one or both arms
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal discomfort
What women can do to reduce risk and take control?
Take control of risk factors
- Take up exercise.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat proteins.
- Quit smoking.
Speak up and request screening
- Schedule wellness visits and ask for screening.
- Know your numbers — blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose.
- If you are experiencing symptoms that could be due to your heart, get help.
- Don't wait to call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room.
Sources: MayoClinic.org; CDC.gov; Heart.org; GoRedForWomen.org; WHO.int.