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Heart Disease Affects Women Too!

If you are a woman, you are more likely to die from heart disease than any other cause. Each year, about 35% of deaths in women are from heart disease or stroke. Even all cancers combined kill fewer women than heart disease.

As a woman, you can take many steps to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. The best lifestyle choices are to quit smoking, get to a healthy weight, eat a heart healthy diet and be active every day.

Heart Disease - Differences Between Men and Women

At one time, research into heart disease was performed mostly on males. Now, we know that important differences exist between men and women:

Signs of Heart Attack in Women

Symptoms of a heart attack may differ between men and women. Women are more likely than men to have signs of a heart attack other than chest pain. Women may experience heartburn or indigestion, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain more often than men when having a heart attack. As a woman, it's important to recognize that you may be having a heart attack, even though you do not experience chest pain.

Age of First Heart Attack in Women

On average, women tend to be older than men when they have a first heart attack. And more women die from a first attack than men. This could be due to advanced age or because the symptoms are not recognized as being a heart attack. If you are a female older than 65 and you have any signs of a heart attack, seek medical help immediately. The HeartMart blog reports on heart disease in women so it's a good page to bookmark for occasional reference.

Tests and Treatment for Heart Disease

Women may respond to certain therapies and treatments for heart disease differently than men. Based on studies of regional populations, women with heart disease received less aggressive treatment for high cholesterol and fewer women were prescribed treatment, such as certain drug therapies, after a first heart attack than men.

Be sure to discuss your risk of heart disease with your doctor. Monitoring your risk factors for heart disease and adopting a heart healthy lifestyle are important throughout life.

CDC, Leading Causes of Death, Females - United States, 2003.

US Department of Health and Human Services. Agency for Healthcare Reasearch and Quality. Research on Cardiovascular Disease in Women.


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