Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women, yet only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat. With so much media coverage portraying it as a disease that predominately affects men, it’s likely that many women don’t know the risk. Understanding the danger of heart disease in women is the best way to put an end to this health risk. Learn the facts, causes and prevention to protect the women in your life today.
Heart Disease in Women
Here are unsettling facts:
- Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
- While it is perceived as the leading cause of death, breast cancer kills 1 in 31 American women each year.
- 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
- Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.
- The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men.
What causes heart disease?
Heart disease affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system. Numerous problems can result from this, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis, a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow causing a heart attack or stroke.
Heart disease can also take many other forms:
- Heart failure, which means that the heart is still working, but it isn’t pumping blood or getting enough oxygen as it should.
- Arrhythmia or an abnormal rhythm, which means the heart is either beating too fast, too slow or irregularly. This affects how well the heart is functioning and whether it is able to pump enough blood or not.
- Heart valve problems can lead to the heart not opening enough to allow proper blood flow. Sometimes heart valves don’t close and blood leaks through or the valve leaflets bulge or prolapse into the upper chamber, causing blood to flow backward through them.
How can I prevent heart disease?
Many things can put you at risk for these heart problems, some you can control and others you can’t. With the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended.
Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day. Here are a few lifestyle changes you should make to lower your risk:
- Don’t smoke
- Manage your blood sugar
- Get a grip on your blood pressure
- Lower your cholesterol
- Know your family history
- Stay active
- Lose excess weight
- Eat healthy
Campaigns like the National Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” strive to help inform women of their risks and the warning signs to look for. For more information on heart disease in women and the Go Red for Women program visit: https://www.goredforwomen.org/
For more ways to protect your health, just call us at 724-929-2300. We can tailor a health plan to fit your needs and your wallet. Let us compare prices with 20 of the biggest names in insurance to get you the right policy at the best price the first time without the hassle.