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Women: Heart Disease and Stroke

Women: Heart Disease and Stroke

You may think that because you are a woman that the greatest health concern for you is breast cancer. An estimated 42 million have heart disease in the U.S. with heart disease being the leading killer of women 25 and older, accounting for more deaths in women than all cancers combined.  Yet it can often be overlooked.

Are you at risk of becoming part of that group?  You may be, especially if you have a close family member who has a history of cardiovascular disease, or you develop high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol levels. Smokers, diabetics and people with sleep apnea are also at a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Know the warning signs of heart attack for women.  Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly.  the signs that are most associated with a woman's heart attack include:

  • Unusual chest discomfort or back or jaw pain
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness

The reality is:

  • One in three women die from heart disease
  • One in 28 women die of breast cancer in their lifetime
  • One in Five women have some form of cardiovascular disease
  • 38% of women who have heart attacks die within the first year compared with 25% of men. Women have heart attacks at an older age and are more likely than men to die from the heart attack within the first few weeks.
  • In 64% of women who died suddenly from heart disease, there were no previous signs or symptoms
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women

Risk factors for heart disease and stroke are very similar. 

Seven steps that you can take toward a healthier heart:

  • Manage hypertension
  • Keep cholesterol at recommended levels
  • Don't smoke
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep diabetes in check
  • Address sleep disorders
  • Rely on St. Mary's for your heart and vascular care

It is essential that all women control their risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  Control your risk factors and don't become a statistic and trust St. Mary's to provide the care and services you need. 

St. Mary's Heart Institute offers the region's most comprehensive cardiology and cardiovascular surgery services - all in one location.  We work with the physicians of Ohio Valley HeartCare to offer the most advanced diagnostic tools and comprehensive cardiac care.  For more information, please call St. Mary's Heart Institute at (812) 485-5230, or log on to the American Heart Association's website  to learn more about GO RED for women.

© 2014 St. Mary's Health System   |  3700 Washington Avenue  |  Evansville, IN 47750  |  (812) 485-4000