Everyday People Matter

Why Women Misinterpret the Disabling Effects of Heart Disease

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Heart Disease

If you ask most women about their biggest health fear, many would reply cancer, specifically breast cancer.  This is in spite of the fact that more women in the United States die from heart disease than any cancer.  Heart disease kills as many as six times the number of women every year as breast cancer.

Cardiac disease is by far the single biggest killer of women in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, more than 300,000 women died from heart disease. In fact, heart disease was named as a cause in one out of every five female deaths that year.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates that only about half of women understand how big of a risk heart disease is.

To understand why there is such a lack of awareness about the risk of heart disease among women, it’s important to understand how certain types of cancer, specifically breast cancer, affect a woman’s sense of self esteem or sexuality.  Also, according to a paper by Harvard University, heart disease typically strikes women above the age of 65, which mean that most women do not give heart disease a thought until they reach that age. Women in their 40s or 50s would be much more likely to know people in their circle who have had breast cancer, but not heart disease.

That gap seems to be narrowing every year. Menopause significantly increases a woman’s risk of heart disease. In fact, after menopause, more than 50% of all female deaths involve heart disease.

If you are a woman in menopause or perimenopause, understand that your risk of heart disease has increased dramatically. Maintain proper weight levels, control stress and hypertension, and follow a healthy diet. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly.