Heart Disease in Women—Could you be at risk?

Although heart disease is generally thought of as a men’s health issue, more women than men die of heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death in women in the U.S. The symptoms of a heart attack in women can present themselves in different ways, and many women may not recognize the signs.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women?

  • Pressure or discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, and abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Right arm pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

In some cases, these symptoms can be much more subtle than the obvious crushing pain in the chest that men often feel. Unfortunately, many women tend to minimize their symptoms, which can lead to heart damage.

Heart disease risk factors in women

  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Stress and depression
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Pregnancy complications

How women can reduce their risk

  • Start a regular exercise plan: At least 30 minutes per day, five days per week
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a heart healthy diet
  • Quit smoking