Heart disease isn’t just a man’s disease. It is also the #1 killer of women in the United States.
Many believe that cancer is more of a threat, but in reality nearly twice as many women in the United States die of heart disease and stroke than from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
- 1 in 10 American women 45 to 64 years of age has some form of heart disease
- More women than men die from heart disease each year.
American Heart Association has identified several factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Risk factors for women
- Increasing age — The chances of developing heart disease increase as women grow older. As women approach the age of menopause, their risk of heart disease and stroke begins to rise and keeps rising with age. The loss of natural estrogen as women age may contribute to this higher risk after menopause.
- Gender — Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women, and they have attacks earlier in life. Overall, the incidence and prevalence of stroke are about equal for men and women. However, more than half of total stroke deaths occur in women.
- Family history — Both women and men are more likely to develop heart disease or stroke if there is family history. Race is also a factor. African-American women have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke than white women, largely because African-Americans have higher average blood pressure levels.
- Previous heart attack, stroke or mini stroke — Women who have had a heart attack are at higher risk of having a second heart attack or a stroke. Women who’ve had a stroke are at much higher risk of having another one or having a heart attack. A mini stroke is a predictor of stroke.