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June 2010 | 0 Comments | Print

Matters of the Heart: What women need to know about heart disease

You owe it to yourself to take this information to heart, for heart disease is a woman’s concern, every woman’s concern. It is not a condition that affects only your husband, your father, your brother or your son. This information tells you why you should be concerned about your own heart health, and what you can do to prevent heart disease.

Did you know?
  • One in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.
  • Since 1984, the number of heart related deaths for females has exceeded those for males.
  • More than 454,000 females die from cardiovascular disease in the U.S. each year, compared to only 268,000 who died from a form of cancer.
  • In comparision, breast cancer claimed the lives of approximately 40,000 females; lung cancer claimed almost 70,000 lives.
Risk factors

Some women have more risk factors for cardiovascular diseases than others. Risk factors are traits or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. Some risk factors for heart-related problems cannot be changed like family history and age, but others can be. The major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases that you can control are cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity and physical inactivity.

Other risk factors, such as diabetes, also are conditions over which you have some control. Although growing older is a risk factor that cannot be changed, it is important to realize that other risks can be reduced at any age.

Some groups of women are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than other groups. African-American women are more likely to die of coronary heart disease than white women, and their death rate for stroke is higher. Older women have a greater chance of developing cardiovascular diseases than younger women, partly because the tendency to have heart-related problems increases with age. Older women, for example, are more likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels, to be diabetic, to be overweight and to be less physically active than younger women.

Also, after menopause, women are more apt to get cardiovascular diseases, in part because their bodies produce less estrogen. Women who have had early menopause, either naturally or because their ovaries have been surgically removed, are more likely to develop coronary heart disease than women of the same age who have not begun menopause.

While any one risk factor will raise your chances of developing or worsening heart-related problems, the more risk factors you have, the more concerned you should be about prevention. If you smoke cigarettes and have high blood pressure, for example, your chance of developing coronary heart disease goes up dramatically.


Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women

Women can have the typical chest pain that men have when experiencing a heart attack. They can also have very different symptoms. These include: shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, back or jaw pain and fatigue.

The Christ Hospital Chest Pain Center, the only accredited center of excellence for chest pain and heart attack care in Cincinnati, quickly evaluates a woman’s heart attack symptoms. One of the goals of a Chest Pain Center is to significantly reduce the time it takes for a patient experiencing symptoms of a possible heart attack to see a physician, thus reducing the time to treatment during the critical early stages when treatments are most effective. The Chest Pain Center also provides a specialized observation setting in which physicians are better able to monitor patients when it is not clear whether they are having a cardiac event. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is not sent home too early and that they are treated properly according to the most accurate diagnosis.

Go Red for Women

The Christ Hospital is proud to announce our partnership with The American Heart Association, Cincinnati division, as the Cincinnati Goes Red Presenting Sponsor. Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s grassroots movement that celebrates the energy, passion, and power of women to band together and wipe out heart disease. Go Red is active in the community year-round educating women about their risk of heart disease and stroke through the Cincinnati Goes Red cause initiative.

“As Greater Cincinnati’s Heart Hospital, The Christ Hospital is proud to be the presenting sponsor for Cincinnati Goes Red. Heart disease in not a ‘man’s disease.’ In fact, it is the number one killer of both women and men. By partnering with the American Heart Association, we hope to convey a strong message to women of all ages – that working together now, women can improve their heart health and live stronger, healthier lives,” says Susan Croushore, President and CEO of The Christ Hospital.

For more information, visit us on the Web at

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