Younger Women Less Likely to Receive Preventive Care for Heart Disease

In a survey conducted by the American Heart Association, about half of the women interviewed knew that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, yet only 13% said it was their greatest personal health risk. Other survey data suggest that on a day-to-day basis, women still worry more about getting breast cancer, even though heart disease kills six times as many women every year. The reason for this disconnect may be because breast cancer affects body image, sexuality, and self-esteem in ways that a diagnosis of heart disease does not. Also, heart disease tends to show up at an older age (on average, a woman’s first heart attack occurs at age 70), so the threat may not seem all that real to younger women. Most 50-year-old women know women their age who’ve had breast cancer but none who’ve had heart disease. In addition, many women say their physicians never talk to them about coronary risk and sometimes don’t even recognize the symptoms, mistaking them instead for signs of panic disorder, stress, and even hypochondria. The table below lists top symptoms of a heart attack in women.

 Source: Harvard Health Publications site. Harvard Medical School. Gender matters: heart disease risk in women. heart- health/gender-matters-heart-disease-risk-in-women. Accessed 1 May 2017.

Top Heart Attack Symptoms in Women One month before During a heart attack a heart attack
Unusual fatigue Shortness of breath
Sleep disturbance Weakness
Shortness of breath Unusual fatigue
Indigestion Cold sweat
Anxiety Dizziness
Heart racing Nausea
Arms weak/heavy Arms weak/heavy
Source: Circulation. 2003;108:2621.

Latest Recipes

Sign up for NHR’s FREE E-Newsletter!

          • Receive notifications when a new issue of NHR is available
          • Get free recipes, tips on healthy living, and the latest health news

Subscribe to NHR Print for only $18 a year!

Get unlimited access to content plus receive 6 eye-appealing, information-packed print issues of NHR delivered to your mailbox.