Heart disease does not just strike men, it is also the biggest killer of women in the USA. Approximately 40% of all women who die are struck by heart disease or stroke. More women die this way than from the total of all cancers, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Despite attempts to educate women about the risk of cardiovascular/heart disease, 45% of US women still do not know that their greatest health risks are from heart disease and stroke. However, this is better than in 1997, when 70% were unaware.
The problem remains, though, that awareness is not getting many women to do anything about it. In an attempt to spur women into action, The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign offers an online self-help survey to evaluate risk. The problem at the moment, say experts, is that too many women still believe heart disease is not going to affect them personally.
Women often to not experience the same heart attack symptoms men do. Women experience shortness off breath without chest pains more often than men. It is more common for women to mistake heart problems for stomach problems as pain is more frequently experienced lower in the chest. As more women than men experience symptoms which are less obvious, they tend to wait longer before seeking treatment. Most women who died of a heart attack did so before ever reaching hospital.
Some sobering facts:
— A mere 13% of US women see just heart disease (not including stroke) as a health threat
— Cardiovascular disease kills nearly half a million women each year in the USA
— About one American woman every minute, 24 hours a day, dies of cardiovascular disease
— About on third of all female and male adults in the USA suffers from some form of cardiovascular disease
— Cardiovascular disease kills more people in the USA than the next four most common killers put together
— Cardiovascular disease takes one American life every 35 seconds
— More American women over 25 die of coronary heart disease than any other illness
— 64% of all American women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease, did so with no previous symptoms
— While 1 in every 30 American female deaths is from breast cancer, the figure for cardiovascular disease is 1 in every 2.6
— Post-menopausal women are at a much higher risk of heart disease than pre-menopausal women of the same age
Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today