5 Women’s Heart Facts Every Woman Should Know

women's heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, with over 60 million women living with some form of heart disease. However, only half of US women recognize that heart disease is their number one killer. By educating yourself on women’s heart facts and making necessary lifestyle changes, you can protect your heart and lower your risk. 

Women’s Heart Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 80% of premature heart disease and strokes can be prevented with behavior change. Some of these behavior changes include seeing your primary care doctor, exercising regularly, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, managing weight, and reducing stress. Here at Kernodle OB/GYN, we have compiled a list of five women’s heart facts:

1. Women Are More Likely To Die From Heart Disease Than Men

Did you know that over 60 million women (44%) in the United States are living with some form of heart disease? Moreover, researchers found women face a 20% increased risk of developing heart failure or dying within five years after their first severe heart attack compared with men. The exact reason for the discrepancy between men and women when it comes to heart failure remains unclear, yet risk factors include high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, diabetes, excess weight, and physical inactivity. 

2. Preeclampsia Is A Predictor Of Developing Cardiovascular Disease

Preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure condition that generally starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A study conducted by the American Heart Association found that Preeclampsia is associated with a 4-fold increase in future incident heart failure and a 2-fold increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and death because of coronary heart or cardiovascular disease. Because of this, it is important for women with a history of preeclampsia to undergo lifelong monitoring for certain cardiovascular conditions.

3. Heart Disease Can Look Different In Women Than In Men

Heart disease differs from person to person, but did you know that it also differs in nature between the genders? Men and women have a number of differences in their biological makeup that can cause contrasting symptoms. For example, men and women experience cholesterol buildup in different areas. Men often develop this buildup in the largest arteries that supply blood to the heart, while women often develop this buildup in the heart’s smallest blood vessels, known as the microvasculature.

4. Pregnancy Can Be A “Stress Test” For The Heart

A women’s heart and body endure a lot during pregnancy, such as a faster heartbeat and breathing rate, and an increased vascular volume and cardiac output. The changes to a women’s heart and body during these nine months are so great that some medical experts see pregnancy as a “stress test” for the heart. A smooth and uneventful pregnancy and birth is often an indicator of good heart health, and your body can pass that stress test. 

5. Heart Disease Rises After Menopause

As if the hot flashes, mood changes, and sleep problems aren’t enough, after menopause, a woman’s risk for heart disease also rises. During menopause, a women’s heart and body are going through many changes. Levels of estrogen start to decline, which may cause a buildup of cholesterol on artery walls. This buildup can lead to an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. 

This guide to women’s heart facts is a great first step in gaining a better understanding of your body and overall health. Are you a woman who has questions about your health?  Here at Kernodle OB/GYN, we provide full-scope individualized women’s health care, including gynecological care, midwifery services, and low- and high-risk maternity care for women and their families. Check out our website or give us a call for more information.

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