Women and Heart Disease

For some women, pregnancy can lead to complications that signal future heart problems.

Many women underestimate the threat of heart disease.

Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief

If you are a woman—or care for one—listen up!

Heart disease is the leading killer of women in America. Each year more women die of heart disease than men, yet heart disease and related risk factors are often missed in women. Symptoms of coronary artery disease and heart attack, for example, are often different in women than their male counterparts. Women are also less likely to receive optimal treatment for certain heart conditions.

If you’re like most women, you’re probably so busy taking care of everyone else, your own wellbeing and health tends to fall last. But you need to make your heart’s health a priority, and encourage other women to do the same. Even though heart disease tends to strike later in life, it can happen at any age. There are things about being a woman that can make you more prone to heart problems (for example, menopause and hormones).

Learn about your risk for heart disease and what makes it more likely. You can help protect your heart by adopting heart-healthy habits—for example, by exercising, eating right, getting enough rest, not smoking and paying attention to your health in general.

If you already have heart disease, you’re in good company—millions of women are living with some form of heart disease, and they can provide a wealth of advice, tips and information to help on your journey. Remember that prevention, early and accurate diagnosis, and treatment are critical.

Use this condition center to learn more about coronary artery disease in women. You can also chat online with other people like you, keep up with the latest research, and get tips to help you feel your best.

Women and Heart Disease News & Events

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2018

Dec 13, 2018

This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.

CardioSmart News

Why Women Are Less Likely to Receive CPR During Cardiac Arrest

Nov 06, 2018
Studies explore why women are less likely to receive lifesaving CPR when collapsing in public.
CardioSmart News

An Update to European Guidelines for Managing Heart Disease During Pregnancy

Sep 18, 2018

Updated guidelines incorporate new research to minimize complications in women with heart disease.

Children Should Avoid Diet Drinks, Advise Experts

Aug 15, 2018

Experts can’t say with certainty that artificially sweetened drinks are safe, based on a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.

Health Literacy is Critical to Heart Disease Prevention

Jun 29, 2018
An American Heart Association statement addresses health literacy as a barrier to heart health. 

Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Jun 29, 2018
A lack of social support is linked to poorer health outcomes in heart patients.

OB/GYNs are Critical to Helping Fight Heart Disease in Women

Jun 12, 2018

Experts ask obstetricians and gynecologists to help educate their patients about heart disease.

Women are Better Represented in Heart Trials but Gaps Still Exist

May 15, 2018
Female participation has increased in some heart-related drug trials but continues to fall short in others.

Breastfeeding May be Protective for Heart Health

Mar 26, 2018
Breastfeeding shows heart health benefits for some mothers, including those with normal blood pressure.

Women with Preterm Deliveries Face Increased Heart Risk

Feb 23, 2018
Mothers of preemies are encouraged to have heart disease risk factors closely monitored.

Breast Cancer Therapies Increase Heart Risks, Experts Warn

Feb 23, 2018

A statement from the American Heart Association highlights a close link between breast cancer and heart disease.

Moderate Exercise Reduces Risk of Death in Women

Dec 14, 2017
A study of more than 17,000 women links physical activity to a longer, healthier life.

Medication Adherence Remains Challenging for Heart Patients

Dec 12, 2017
Taking medication as directed is critical to improving outcomes.
I am CardioSmart

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 31, 2017

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Helps Keep the Mind Intact

Oct 16, 2017
Experts provide simple yet effective strategies for protecting cognitive health as we age.

New Guidelines Fine-Tune Heart Screenings in Young Athletes

Aug 17, 2017
Refined testing would save health care costs while still detecting serious heart conditions.

Too Much Salt Puts Added Stress on Heart

Aug 17, 2017
A recent study confirms that consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium daily taxes the heart.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

Sep 17, 2016
Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.

Night Shifts Take a Toll on Heart Health

Jun 13, 2016
A study on U.S. female nurses finds that overnight work increases risk for heart attack.
CardioSmart News

Few Women Counseled About Their Risk for Heart Disease

May 25, 2016
Most women have one or more risk factors for heart disease yet few can recall being advised on heart health prevention.
CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Infographic

Women and Heart Disease

Patient Resource

Featured Video

Women often experience heart attack symptoms differently than men. It's important for a woman to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and react quickly by calling 911.