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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

Heart Disease Facts For Women

July 21, 2020

There are certain heart disease facts that can’t be ignored. The most important fact is that heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death of men and women in the United States. But many women are unaware of the threat that they’re facing.

Heart disease is a group of diseases that affect your heart and blood vessels. Many of them are related to atherosclerosis, a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the walls of your arteries. It is also referred to as hardening of the arteries.

Too much pressure in the arteries can make their walls stiff and thick over time, and this can restrict the flow of blood to the rest of the body. Atherosclerosis is the main cause of cardiovascular disease, and it’s typically the result of an unhealthy diet, excessive weight, lack of exercise and/or smoking.

This fact sheet seeks to emphasize the urgent need for women to realize the dangers of heart disease and take effective measures to prevent and control it.

Heart Disease Differences

Heart disease affects men and women differently — not only as it develops, but the signs and symptoms, too. Here’s a list of reasons women need to understand the difference.

  • Heart disease is attributed to 1 in every 5 female deaths.
  • Certain diseases that only affect women, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary disease, diabetes and high blood pressure that develop during pregnancy increase the risk of coronary artery disease, the leading cause of heart attack.
  • About 8 million American women are presently living with heart disease and 4 million are suffering from angina.
  • Every year, approximately 435,000 women experience heart attacks.
  • 42% of women who suffer heart attacks die within a year.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 299,578 women in 2017.
  • The early warning sign of heart attack for approximately 70% of women is sudden and extreme weakness, usually without chest pain.
  • Almost two-thirds of women who are killed by heart attacks do not have a history of chest pain.
  • Women who smoke are likely to experience a heart attack nearly 20 years earlier than those who do not.
  • Estrogen offers women some protection from heart disease until after menopause when estrogen levels drop. This is why the average age for a heart attack is 70 in women, but 66 in men.
  • Women who are suffering from high blood pressure are 3.5 times more susceptible to coronary heart disease than those who have normal blood pressure.
  • Women with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than women who do not have the condition.

If you’re like most women, you’re probably so busy taking care of everyone else that your own well-being and health tend to come last. But you need to make your heart health a priority, and encourage other women to do the same.

Take Steps To Decrease Your Risk

It’s never too late to start living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Making heart-healthy decisions can help you live longer, giving you the chance to see your grandchildren grow.

And it’s never too early to see your doctor and discuss your risk for heart disease. In fact, the primary prevention guidelines say that the earlier the risk factors for heart disease are prevented or treated, the less likely you are to develop heart disease later in life.

So, if you’re concerned about your risk for heart disease, make an appointment to discuss how you can prevent this highly preventable condition.

Eating right and staying active will also improve your heart health and help you feel better, too. Small changes once a week will get you on the road to decreasing your risk of developing heart disease.

The best way to prevent and manage heart disease is to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. If you are at risk of or suffering from heart disease, you can get advice from our cardiologists. Or you can check out our guide: “Cardiology Tests That Are Helping Hearts Stay Healthy.”

This guide will introduce you to three tests your cardiologist can perform to determine how healthy your heart is. In fact, one of the tests can tell you if you’re at risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years.

How to tell if you'll have a heart attack