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Women and Heart Disease – Blog Post

Despite increases in awareness over the past decades, only about half (56%) of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer. Heart disease is often thought to be more of a problem for men. However, it’s the most common cause of death for both women and men in the United States. Because some heart disease symptoms in women can differ from those in men, women often don’t know what to look for. Because women don’t always recognize their symptoms as those of a heart attack, they tend to show up in emergency rooms after heart damage has occurred. Also, because their symptoms often differ from men’s, women might be diagnosed less often with heart disease than men are. 

Fortunately, by learning unique heart disease symptoms, women can begin to reduce their risks. 

Risk Factors  

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Many of the risk factors that affect men also affect women. Important risk factors for heart disease are: 

  • Being physically inactive 
  • Having a family history of early heart disease 
  • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy 
  • Unhealthy diet 
  • Age (55 or older for women) 


Reduce Your Risk 

While some risk factors, such as age and family history of early heart disease, can’t be changed, there is something we can do at every stage of life to reduce our risk of heart disease. To lower your chances of getting heart disease, it’s important to do the following: 

  1. Know and understand your blood pressure 
  2. Make healthy eating decisions 
  3. Stay hydrated 
  4. Get moving 
  5. Say no to smoking and vaping 
  6. Get more quality sleep 
  7. Reduce your stress levels  

Changes can be made gradually, one at a time, but making them is very important. The message is clear: Every woman needs to take her heart disease risk seriously—and take action to reduce that risk.