Surprising Facts About Heart Disease in Women

Many women are not aware that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. In fact, most people think of heart disease as a man's problem and that breast cancer is the number one health threat for women.

Each year, twice as many women die of heart disease than of breast, lung and other cancers combined. And every year since 1984, more women than men have died of heart disease in the United States.

Why Are Women So Affected By Heart Disease?

One reason may be that women seem to have their heart disease diagnosed later in life when the disease is more advanced; therefore, they are more likely to die or suffer serious complications. The probability that a woman suffering a heart attack will die within one year is almost twice that of a man.

And there are other complicating factors. Because heart attack symptoms may be different in women than in men, the symptoms may be overlooked or misinterpreted. Also, women are referred for cardiac testing less frequently than men, and when those tests are performed, interpretation is sometimes more difficult due to gender differences.