Shocking Truth about Women and Heart Disease

Did you know that women are less likely to call 9-1-1 when they are experiencing symptoms of heart attack than they are when others have those same symptoms? Make no mistake about it — heart disease is the #1 killer of women in America. Our mothers, daughters, and sisters are dying of heart disease at the rate of one woman every minute.

Don’t like those stats? Check these out:

  • About 43 million American women are affected by heart disease.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Heart disease causes one in three deaths in American women each year.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease — and the gender gap in survival rates is widening.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African-American women.
  • On average, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanic white women.
  • Despite the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of American women, only one in five believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • Women comprise only 24 percent of participants in all heart-related studies.

The American Heart Association lists these heart attack warning signs for women:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you’re having symptoms of heart attack, don’t brush them off. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

February, 1, 2013 marks the 10th annual National Wear Red Day, a day set aside to call attention to heart disease in women. The Go Red For Women campaign asks that women (but men should, too) wear red to shine a spotlight on heart disease in women.

Related Reading
Just a Little Heart Attack (video)
10 Risk Factors and Warning Signs of a Stroke
Americans are Sicker and Die Younger
Exercise (Even a Little) to Live Longer

Photo: Eyecandy Images/ThinkStock

51 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

Thanks

Annamaria Rizzo
Annamaria Rizzo3 years ago

Thank you

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

Thanks for sharing this important information.

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Magda V.
Past Member 3 years ago

thx:))

Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage se3 years ago

Thanks

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage se3 years ago

ty

Tammy Taylor
Tammy Taylor3 years ago

- thank-you ...

Julia R.
Julia R.3 years ago

This article is truly a wake-up call! I didn't realize that heart disease is now the number one killer of women in the U.S. and Our mothers, daughters, and sisters are dying of heart disease at the rate of one woman every minute. These other statistics were also very alarming:

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

Heart disease causes one in three deaths in American women each year.

Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease — and the gender gap in survival rates is widening.

This is why we need to take the following heart attack warnings by the American Heart Association for women very seriously:


Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.