Women and Coronary Artery Disease

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 Coronary Artery Disease News & Events

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

Jan 18, 2016
Experts reaffirm that health benefits from exercise far outweigh risks.

Heart Disease Remains Top Killer in the United States

Jan 10, 2016

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths, highlighting an urgent need for prevention and treatment.

Women with Diabetes Especially Vulnerable to Heart Risks from Air Pollution

Dec 09, 2015
Fine particulate matter is unhealthy for all but especially for women with diabetes.

Declines in U.S. Death Rates Have Slowed

Nov 19, 2015
Researchers measure progress on heart disease and other leading causes of death, and identify areas for improvement.

Low-Fat Diets Not the Best Weight Loss Solution

Nov 19, 2015

A review of more than 50 clinical trials comparing low- versus higher-fat diets shows no significant difference in weight loss results.

Young Adults, Especially Women, Don't Know Their Risk for Heart Disease

Oct 26, 2015

Only half of young adults suffering a heart attack knew they were at risk, finds study.

Experts Call for More Research on Microvascular Disease—A ‘Woman’s Problem’

Oct 22, 2015
Better diagnosis and treatment are needed for this heart condition that is often overlooked.

African-American Veterans Healthier Than White Counterparts

Oct 22, 2015

Analysis of VA data stands in contrast to health disparities in the general U.S. population.

Women Less Likely to Take Medication to Prevent Second Heart Attack

Oct 21, 2015
Women are either less likely than men to receive a prescription for preventive medication or to fill the prescription.

Music Boosts Heart Health

Oct 13, 2015
Music’s effect on heart activity, blood pressure and breathing bodes well for health.

A Healthy Lifestyle in Midlife Makes for Healthier Golden Years

Oct 13, 2015

The benefits of healthy choices carry long into older adulthood.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 05, 2015

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Chicago in April 2016!

Longer, But Not Necessarily Healthier, Lives

Sep 25, 2015
While life expectancy continues to rise, heart disease becomes the leading cause of disability around the world.

Deep Belly Fat Increases Cardiovascular Risk

Sep 18, 2015
Study finds that both volume and type of belly fat have an impact on heart health.

Age and Gender Differences in Heart Disease Mortality Rates

Sep 17, 2015
Despite recent drops in cardiovascular mortality rates, death toll among young adults remains high.

Economic and Social Forces Have Big Impact on Heart Health

Aug 21, 2015
The American Heart Association has issued a scientific statement addressing social factors that influence risk for heart disease.

Smoking and Preterm Birth Increase Heart Disease Risk in Women

Aug 11, 2015
Independently, each of these risk factors spells trouble for women’s health later in life; in this study, experts explored the combined impact.

Chocolate Protects Against Heart Disease and Stroke

Jul 01, 2015
Moderate chocolate consumption helps, not harms, cardiovascular health.

Action, Not Advice, Helps Smokers Quit

Jun 25, 2015
Creating a quit plan and providing tools for ongoing support is more effective than education alone in helping smokers quit.

Cash Incentives Help Smokers Quit

Jun 03, 2015
Rewards-based programs are much more appealing than deposit-based programs, which require smokers to risk their own money.

Mediterranean Diet Improves Memory and Brain Function

May 26, 2015
A diet rich in olive oil and nuts may improve brain function and reduce risk for dementia.

Few Women with Heart Disease Counseled on Birth Control Methods

May 14, 2015
A review of research on this topic finds gaps in care and stresses early education for girls.

A National Plan to Get America Moving

May 11, 2015

Proposed changes to our physical and social environments encourage regular physical activity for Americans throughout the course of the day.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Rare for Adults Engaged in Sports

Apr 23, 2015

Study highlights the benefits of exercise and sports in middle-aged adults, as well as CPR training.

Is There an Exercise 'Sweet Spot' for Longer Life?

Apr 23, 2015
Two large-scale studies take a close look at meeting or exceeding current exercise guidelines, but one thing is clear: Any physical activity is far better than none.

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.