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Women's Health

The Facts: Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease, including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, angina and other conditions, is actually deadlier for women than men. One in every 3 women will die of heart disease. For the last 20 years, more women than men have died of cardiovascular disease in America. Nearly half a million women die every year of this disease -- 65,000 more than men.

Yet this deadly disease goes virtually unrecognized as the number one killer of women in America. While the statistics are disturbing, heart disease is often preventable.

One way to battle this killer is for all women to make a commitment to a lifestyle that promotes lifelong health. This includes making sure that every woman is educated about the risks of heart disease and consults a doctor for routine preventative screenings. Knowledge is our strongest medicine.

Source: Comments from the White House concerning Laura Bush's belief that it is especially important to educate women about the risks of heart disease.

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, accounting for 32 percent ofall deaths per year. Nearly 366,000 women in America die every year of heart disease.

  • 8 million American women are currently living with heart disease and of those, 6 million have a family history of heart disease.

  • Fewer than half of all women are aware that heart disease is the number 1 killer of American women. Most women identify cancer as the leading cause of death.

  • In the United States, all cardiovascular diseases combined claim the lives of more women's every year than the next 16 causes of death combined -- and almost twice as many as all forms of cancer.

  • One in three women will die from heart disease, while one in 25 women die from breast cancer.

  • Every year since 1984, more women than men have died of cardiovascular disease.

  • There is no previous evidence of coronary heart disease in 63 percent of the women who suddenly die from the disease.

  • Smoking is the most prevalent and preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease in women younger than 45.

  • 40 percent to 50 percent of women older than 45 have high blood pressure and an elevated total cholesterol level -- both well-documented risk factors.

  • Heart disease is often preventable.

Source: White House Women's Health and Wellness Initiative

© 2004 Health Resources Publishing