According to the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease
is the leading cause of death in women.
Heart attacks and their aftermath tend to be more deadly in women.
About one-quarter more women than men die within a year of having a
heart attack. This may happen because women are generally older than
men when they suffer heart attacks. Also, women don't respond as well
as men to the treatments usually prescribed during or after a heart attack.
For many women, a heart attack may feel like a strange discomfort in
the back or some other easily ignored sign, instead of crushing chest pain.
When women do go to the hospital, doctors may miss the diagnosis of
heart attack because the symptoms are vague. Without a definite
diagnosis, a woman may be sent home thinking that her symptoms don't
mean anything serious.
Studies confirm that heart disease may differ in women in ways that
doctors may not realize. Heart disease, in many women doesn't occur
from obvious blockages in arteries as it does in men.
Instead, for women, plaque spreads evenly along the artery wall or
in the smaller arteries—areas hidden from an angiogram, the standard
imaging test that measures blood flow in the big arteries.
Heart Attack Statistics
It is a myth that heart disease is a man's disease. In fact,
cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer of women. These
diseases currently claim the lives of more than a half a million
females every year - more than the next 16 causes of death combined.
In 64 percent of women who died suddenly from cardiovascular
disease, there were no previous symptoms of the disease.
Consider the following statistics about cardiovascular disease in
women from the American Heart Association:
One out of every five women has some form of cardiovascular
In the United States, cardiovascular diseases claim
the lives of nearly 503,000 females annually, while all forms of
cancer combine to kill about 258,000 females.
heart disease is the single largest cause of death for females in
the United States.
About 18,900 females under age 65 die of
coronary heart disease each year; about 35 percent of them are under
Forty-two percent of women who have heart attacks
die within a year, compared with 24 percent of men. Because women
have heart attacks at older ages, they are more likely than men are
to die from them within a few weeks.
Death rates from
cardiovascular disease are higher for African-American females than
for Caucasian females.