“Women are at risk for heart disease and heart attacks ? just like men,” said Patti Good, APRN of Antelope Memorial Hospital. “American women are four to six times more likely to die of heart disease than of breast cancer. For women over 65, heart disease is the leading cause of death ? killing more women than all cancers combined.”
When heart attacks occur, women are less likely to survive than men, added Good. In fact, studies have shown that young women with heart disease are twice as likely to die in the hospital as similarly aged men. Plus, a study of young women (under age 55) who had heart attacks revealed a lack of awareness. Despite severe chest pain, only about 40 percent thought something was wrong with their hearts when they sought help. Many thought they simply had indigestion or heartburn and failed to seek help within the first hour of their symptoms. Taking steps to recognize symptoms and prevent the risk of heart problems is important for both men and women.
The biggest factors that contribute to heart disease are smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history and age. Your risk for heart disease may be assessed by evaluating your lifestyle, family history and general health. Although you can’t change your age or family history, you can make changes to avoid or minimize other controllable risk factors.
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