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Published on January 30, 2014

Women and Heart Disease

It’s not just a man’s disease.

Cardiovascular Disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans. Nearly twice as many women in the United States die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases than from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer, combined. While the statistics are staggering, most women are still unaware of their risks. According to the Preventative Cardiovascular Nurse Association, nearly 40 percent of women who are free of heart disease at age 50 will go on to develop cardiovascular disease during their lifetime.


Know Your Warning Signs

Health professionals now realize that women’s heart attack symptoms vary greatly from those experienced by men. In addition to the typical pain, squeezing sensation, pounding or burning in the chest, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience the other common symptoms of a heart attack, particularly:

  • Shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain
  • Pain described as sharp
  • Weakness, fatigue and body aches that worsen with activity
  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • An “unusual” uneasy feeling that is difficult to describe


Take Action

It’s important to learn the signs, but remember, even if you’re not sure whether you’re having a heart attack, have it checked out. Call 9-1-1 for prompt medical treatment. Emergency medical service is the fastest way to get help. When it comes to a heart attack, minutes matter, minutes save lives.

These are risk factors you have control over – empower yourself by reducing your risks.

  • Quit smoking.
  • Control cholesterol levels.
  • Lower high blood pressure.
  • Participate in some sort of physical activity.
  • Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get tested for diabetes and control your glucose levels.