Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing almost 422,000 women each year.
Among women, black women have the highest risk of dying early from heart disease and stroke.
Certain conditions increase a person’s chance of heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight/obesity and high LDL cholesterol.
The Good News
Almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. That means that there are simple steps you can take to lower your risk for heart disease.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stay smoke-free. For help quitting smoking call 1-866-NY-QUITS or 1-855-DEJELO-YA (for Spanish speakers).
- Know your risk. Since conditions like high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol are often silent, it is important to have your doctor check your numbers.
- Talk to your health care provider about ways you can improve your health.
The ABCs of Heart Health
If you have any medical conditions, managing them appropriately is important. Learn the ABCs of heart health and use them in your daily life.
- Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
- Blood pressure control
- Cholesterol management
- Smoking cessation
Know the Signs
Some women may experience symptoms of early heart disease, such as heavy sharp chest pain or pain in the upper abdomen. However, sometimes heart disease is silent and only gets diagnosed when a woman has certain signs, including:
- Heart Attack: Chest pain/discomfort, upper body discomfort shortness of breath
- Arrhythmia: Fluttery feelings in the chest
- Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the limbs
- Stroke: Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden confusion, difficulty seeing and loss of coordination.