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

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.

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.

Guidelines Fine-Tune Heart Screenings in Young Athletes

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

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.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Improving Heart Attack Treatment and Prevention in Women

Feb 09, 2016

Experts address key heart attack differences in men and women.

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

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

Cardiac Rehab is Lifesaving for Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2016

Exercise-based rehab programs reduce risk for heart-related death by 26%.

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.

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.

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.