Matters of the Heart Disease

Seventy-two beats per minute. That is the average rate of a normal beating heart. We associate our hearts with life and love but rarely with women’s heart disease, but one out of every four women will die from heart disease in the U.S.

Learning the facts is the best defense to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Below are fifty facts about heart health. Read up, learn and join the front lines against the fight of women’s heart disease.

  1. 8.6 million women die from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, each year in the United States.
  2. A stress test often reveals a false positive.
  3. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches is also a risk factor for heart disease.
  4. A woman can receive a man’s heart as a transplant.
  5. A woman’s heart attack is twice as likely as a man’s to be fatal.
  6. About 30 percent of women who have heart attacks have calcium in their arteries, compared to 90 percent of men.
  7. Adding echocardiography to the standard stress test raises accuracy by as much as 85% for women.
  8. African American women are almost 70 percent more likely to die after a heart attack.
  9. African American women are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease than Caucasian women.
  10. Almost two-thirds of women who die from heart disease have no previous symptoms.
  11. An 11-state region in the southeast is known as the “stroke belt” because of the high incidence of heart disease there.
  12. Approximately one quarter of women who die from heart disease are between the ages of 35 and 44.
  13. As women become menopausal, they are at higher risk for heart disease.
  14. By the time African American women are in their late 60s, 79 percent will have developed high blood pressure.
  15. Calcified plaque is the leading cause of heart attacks. It shows up at least 10 years before a heart attack or stroke hits.
  16. Chest pain from a heart attack can be located anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side.
  17. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease.
  18. Doctors may be less likely to discuss heart disease with women than with men.
  19. Each year, about 715,000 Americans experience a heart attack.
  20. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease because of genetics.
  21. Exercise will decrease your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.
  22. Fifteen years ago, women were more likely to incorrectly cite cancer as their leading killer.
  23. For some ethnicities, such as American Indians, Asians and Pacific Islanders, heart disease is second only to cancer.
  24. Genetic tests can help your doctor discern your risk of a future heart attack.
  25. Globally, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer among women.
  26. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can result in heart disease.
  27. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease.
  28. Heart disease kills an estimated six times as many women as breast cancer.
  29. Hot flashes may be an overlooked sign of a heart attack in older women.
  30. Many of the symptoms of heart disease are often ignored, unrecognized or misdiagnosed.
  31. One in ten women between the ages of 45 and 64 suffers from heart disease.
  32. One woman dies every minute from heart disease.
  33. Phases of the menstrual cycle and birth control pills have been shown to throw off stress-test results in women.
  34. Risk for heart disease increases after the age of 40 due to a drop in estrogen.
  35. Single-vessel heart disease is more common in women than in men.
  36. Sometimes people mistake stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu or a stomach ulcer.
  37. The number of women who know heart disease is their leading cause of death has nearly doubled in the past 15 years.
  38. The openings in women’s arteries are smaller than those of men’s hearts.
  39. The stroke belt states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
  40. There’s a 35% chance the results of a stress test will be wrong.
  41. These days, cardiologists often use advanced tests to assess heart attack risk.
  42.  WISEWOMAN is a program from the CDC that provides low-income women with tools to prevent cardiovascular disease.
  43. Women generally have heart attacks five to ten years later than men.
  44. Women more frequently experience heart attack pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back.
  45. Women under the age of 75 are twice as likely to die from heart disease than men.
  46. Women who smoke risk having a heart attack 19 years earlier than non-smokers.
  47. Women’s heart attack symptoms can be different than those of a man.
  48. Women’s hearts are physically different than men’s hearts.
  49. Women’s hearts respond better than men’s to healthy lifestyle changes.
  50. Younger women are less likely to discuss heart disease with their doctors.