Heart Disease in Women

Heart disease is not just a man’s disease but a leading cause of death in women. Learn how to reduce the risk of heart disease. Know the symptoms of a heart attack.

Heart attack symptoms may be different in women than men. Women need to understand the symptoms and get medical help right away.

Women’s heart disease risk factors

Some of the risk factors for heart disease are different for women. Talk to your primary care provider about your risks for heart disease, and what you can do about them.

Many of the risk factors for heart disease are lifestyle choices that you can control. Lifestyle risk factors include:

  • Smoking

  • Taking birth control pills

  • Stress

  • Being overweight

  • Lack of exercise

  • Having an unhealthy diet

Additional risk factors

  • High blood cholesterol
  •  High blood pressure
  •  Diabetes
  •  Depression
  •  Pregnancy complications
  •  Menopause
  •  Sleep apnea
  • Family history of heart disease and/or stroke

Know heart attack symptoms in women

Heart attack symptoms may be different in women than men. Women need to understand the symptoms and get medical help right away.

Women may have some or no chest pain as a heart attack symptom.

They may experience chest pain as tightness in the chest, but not recognize it as a heart attack symptom.

Women report more often than men other symptoms that they may not associate with heart problems or a heart attack.

Heart attack symptoms in women include:

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, shoulder or back
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Arm pain (in one or both arms)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling overly tired

If you are having heart attack symptoms, call 911 and get medical help right away.

Heart medications

It is important to take medicines as prescribed.

These include:

  • Blood pressure medicine

  • Cholesterol medicine

  • Aspirin

  • Anticoagulant, also called a blood thinner

Do you have questions about heart health?

Connect with a Health Educator, and ask your questions.

We’re here for you. We can help.

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