Heart Disease is the #1 Killer of Women

Woman clutching her chest in pain

Heart disease is a woman’s disease:  1 in 4 will die in the U.S. from heart disease this year that is half a million deaths each year – yet the perception that heart disease is primarily a man’s disease persist. The reality is that coronary heart disease (CHD) is the #1 killer of both men and women in this country.  Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds upon the inner walls of coronary arteries, preventing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.  This buildup of plaque is called atherosclerosis and it can trigger a heart attack.

While the basic process of coronary heart disease is the same for men and women, the disease, its symptoms and outcomes differ between the sexes:

Women with diabetes have twice the risk of CHD compared with men.

Heart attacks among women with diabetes are more deadly.

Women tend to develop CHD 10 years later than men.

When women have symptoms, they tend to differ from those of men:  they are more likely to have pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back rather than in the chest.

Women may experience lightheadedness, an upset stomach and sweating when having a heart attack.

While it is important to pay attentions to the signs of a heart attack it is equally important to take preventive measures.  Research has found that diet, a healthy weight and exercise reduce risk.  Put your emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.

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