Why should women be concerned?
- Heart disease is the number one killer of women, claiming one in three women's lives.
- Many women believe that heart disease is a man's disease, so they do not perceive it as a serious health threat. Women's heart disease symptoms may be different from men's symptoms. For example, a woman might experience a severe migraine headache or an upset stomach. Often, women ignore these symptoms because they don't attribute them to heart disease.
- Heart disease in women often leads to significant health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and even death. You can help prevent heart disease by getting regular heart-health screenings and working to reduce your risk factors.
Who is at risk?
The major risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity and being overweight, physical inactivity, and smoking. All are controllable. Other risk factors include diabetes, family history of heart disease and age. Some facts:
- Women who smoke risk having a heart attack 19 years earlier than nonsmoking women.
- Women with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack than women without diabetes.
- High blood pressure is more common in women taking oral contraceptives, especially in obese women.
- African American women are 72 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease than white women.
- More female Hispanic Americans die from heart disease and stroke than cancer, diabetes and accidents combined. Heart disease and stroke accounted for 33.1 percent of total deaths in 2000.
What can you do to prevent heart disease?
- Get a regular heart-health screening to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose.
- Stop smoking.
- Increase your physical activity and adopt a healthy diet.
- Watch your weight — It’s not just about looks!
What is a heart-health screening?
The National Woman's Heart Day® screening includes:
- Risk assessment questionnaire
- Blood pressure check
- Finger prick, non-fasting blood test to determine cholesterol and glucose
- On-the-spot screening results
What if I can't attend the health fair?
For women who are unable to attend one of our events or don't live in a city where there is a National Woman's Heart Day® screening event, talk to your physician or health care provider about getting a heart-health screening. Ask them to:
- Inform you about risk factors for heart disease
- Give you the normal ranges for key risks such as:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood sugar or glucose
- Body mass index