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The heart disease risks that set women apart

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The heart disease risks that set women apart

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Many of us know that heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. Despite being a concern for both men and women, there are big differences in how men and women experience heart disease and how they seek out care. For example, when experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, women wait more than 30% longer than men to go to the hospital. They’re also 50% more likely to be diagnosed incorrectly following a heart attack.   

According to a recent Healthline article, there are several factors driving these differences. One is that less than 60% of women understand their risk of heart disease and are more likely to be concerned about less common diseaseslike cancer. Cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, national spokesperson for the American Heart Association, was quoted in the article sharing that the most important thing for all women to understand is that 80% of the time, heart disease is preventable. Risk factors for both men and women include:

  • Smoking cigarettes 
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not getting enough exercise 
  • Being an unhealthy weight 
  • Not getting enough sleep 
  • Having a family history of heart disease 

Other conditions that put women at an even higher risk of heart disease include depression, high blood pressure or gestational diabetes when pregnant, and chronic inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more about women’s heart disease risk, and how it can be prevented, here.