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Women and Heart Disease

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States? Or that women are less likely to survive heart attacks than men?

Some staggering facts from the NIH publication The Healthy Heart Handbook* show that:

  • One in 4 women in the United States dies of heart disease, while 1 in 30 dies of breast cancer.
  • Twenty-three percent of women will die within 1 year of having a heart attack.
  • Within 6 years of having a heart attack, about 46 percent of women become disabled with heart failure. Two thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.
  • Once a woman reaches menopause, her risks of heart disease and heart attack jump dramatically. One in 8 women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease, and this increases to 1 in 4 women over age 65.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for heart attack and heart disease. Modifiable risk factors are those risk factors you can modify or change. To reduce your risk, you should focus on the following modifiable risk factors:

  • Do not smoke cigarettes
  • Keep blood pressure under control
  • Maintain blood cholesterol levels in the recommended range
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active

For more information on the unique risks for and effects of heart disease in women, please visit the following websites for more information.

Choose To MoveChoose To Move is a 12-week program for women who want to make a change in their lifestyle. As part of the Go Red for Women movement, Choose To Move, gives women the power to build physical activity into their life and reduce their risk for heart disease - their number one killer.
Heart Disease in WomenInformation on women and heart disease from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women"The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women" will give you new information on women's heart disease and practical suggestions for reducing your own personal risk of heart-related problems. You'll find out about a little-known form of heart disease in women and how to get it diagnosed properly. The handbook will also help you make sense of widely publicized research on the impact of a lower fat diet on women's heart disease risk.
The Red Dress ProjectThe Red Dress, the centerpiece of The Heart Truth, is a red alert that inspires women to take action to protect their heart health. The primary message driving The Heart Truth campaign is: "Heart Disease Doesn't Care What You Wear-It's the #1 Killer of Women."
WomenHeartWomenHeart is a nationwide community of women with heart disease.
Women's Heart FoundationThe Women's Heart Foundation, the only non-governmental organization that designs and implements demonstration projects for the prevention of heart disease, is a charitable organization dedicated to improving the survival and quality of life for women with heart disease through the promotion of health literacy in gender care. Resources are available in English, Spanish and French.

The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women NIH Publication No. 07-2720. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH. March 2007