The deadly statistics of heart disease in women

By Buffalo Medical Group | January 31 2018 | Doctor Tips

Today is “Go Red for Women’s Heart Health,” a day created by the American Heart Association to help raise awareness for cardiovascular (heart) disease in women, and to let them know how they can prevent this disease for themselves, and loved ones.

Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly 500,000 women a year in the U.S. – and yet many women are unaware of just how prevalent this disease is among them.

In fact, women tend to be more concerned with breast cancer, despite the fact that heart disease cause one in three women’s deaths each year, compared to one in 30 deaths each year to breast cancer. This equates to cardiovascular disease claiming one woman’s life every 80 seconds.

What’s even more alarming is that these deaths are completely preventable. In order to drastically reduce the number of lives claimed by this disease, it’s important women become educated on cardiovascular disease so they are able to identify risk factors and symptoms.

The following may be symptoms of cardiovascular disease:

  • Shortness of breath with exertion
  • Chest pain, tightness or pressure with exertion
  • Change in exercise tolerance
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Jaw, arm or neck pain, or pressure with exertion

You may be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease if you have any of the following pre-existing conditions, issues, or participate in any of the unhealthy habits listed:

  • Family history: a male relative who has heart attack or stroke  (or stent or bypass surgery ) before age 55, or a female relative before age 65
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes: Diabetic women have 7-8x the risk of developing heart disease than women who are not
  • Active smoker
  • High blood pressure
  • Sedentary life style
  • Post- menopausal
  • Obesity
  • Low HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)
  • Toxemia and gestational diabetes with pregnancy
  • Delivering a low birth-weight infant

Cardiovascular disease was always felt to be a disease for men, and not women. Because of this, many women have been unaware of the risk factors, and symptoms associated with this disease, or have not been treated as aggressively as they should be.

You are your own health advocate. You should contact your physician if you feel you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, or are experiencing any of these symptoms.

You do not have to be another statistic. It’s crucial we continue to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease in women, and educate on the fact that this disease is preventable. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, have a family history, or subject to other risk factors, we encourage you to contact Dr. JoAnne Cobler BMG Cardiologist, at 716-630-1146, to learn more, or schedule an appointment.