Women and Heart Disease Prevention
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.
Learn how to lower your chance for heart disease, ask your health provider questions about heart health, and make sure you know the symptoms of a heart attack.
Eat healthy, stay active, be smoke-free, and limit alcohol use to lower your chance for heart disease.
Know the factors that may increase your chances of getting heart disease.
- Diet high in saturated fats and cholesterol
- Excessive alcohol use
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco use
Get answers to questions you have. Use this list of questions if needed.
- What is my risk for heart disease?
- What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
- What are my cholesterol numbers (including total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, HDL or “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides)? What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?
- What is my “body mass index” and waist measurement? Is my BMI in the “normal” range? Do I need to lose weight for my health?
- What is my blood sugar level? Am I at risk for diabetes?
- What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
- What can I do to quit smoking?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
- What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?
- How can I tell if I’m having a heart attack?
A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States. If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. The good news is that if you seek help quickly, treatment can save your life and prevent permanent damage to your heart muscle. Treatment works best if given within 1 hour of when symptoms begin.
Common symptoms are:
- Unusually heavy pressure on the chest, like there’s a ton of weight on you
- Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back, and jaw
- Severe shortness of breath
- Cold sweats (not hot flashes from menopause)
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
- Unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness
- Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting