Women & Heart Disease


Women & Heart Disease Fact Sheet Source: www.womenheart.org
An estimated 42 million American women live with cardiovascular disease, but too many are unaware of the threat they face. The following illustrates the urgent need for greater awareness of heart disease in women and for immediate efforts to eliminate the disparities in women’s heart care.

More common than you may think

  • More than 42 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease.[1]  More than 8 million women have a history of heart attack and/or angina.[1]
  • Five and a half million women will suffer angina.[1]

More fatal than any other disease

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, killing more than a third of them.[1]
  • 35.3% of deaths in American women over the age of 20, or more than 432,000, are caused by cardiovascular disease each year.[1]
  • More than 200,000 women die each year from heart attacks- five times as many women as breast cancer.[1]
  • More than 159,000 women die each year of congestive heart failure, accounting for 56.3% of all heart failure deaths.[1]

Who is at-risk?

  • Cigarette smoking results in a 2-3 times increased risk of dying from heart disease.[1]
  • 48% of adult women have a total cholesterol of at least 200mg/dL.[1]
  • 50% of Caucasian women, 64% of African-American women, 60% of Hispanic women, and 53% of Asian/Pacific Islander women are sedentary and get no leisure time physical activity.[1]
  • 58% of Caucasian women, 80% of African-American women, and 74% Hispanic-American women are overweight or obese.[1]
  • Women with diabetes are 2.5 times more likely to have heart attacks.[1]

Affects more women than men

  • More women than men die of heart disease each year.[1]
  • 23% of women and 18% of men will die within one year of a first recognized heart attack; 22-32% of women and 15-27% of men heart attack survivors will die within five years.[1]
  • 12-25% of women and 7-22% of men heart attack survivors will be diagnosed with heart failure within five years.[1]
  • Women are less likely than men to receive appropriate treatment after a heart attack.[1]
  • Women comprise only 27% of participants in all heart-related research studies.[2]

Heart disease is preventable.

Many women can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease if they have the information they need, know the questions to ask their health providers and receive the support to make heart-smart changes in their lives.  Visit our Prevention and Early Detection section to learn more.

[1]Lloyd-Jones D, Adams R, Brown T,. et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2010 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcomittee.  Circulation. 2010; 121:e1-e170.

[2] Johnson SM, Karvonen CA, Phelps CL, Set al. Assessment of Analysis by Gender in the Cochrane Reviews as Related to Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease.  J Women’s Health. June 1, 2003, 12(5):449-457.


Other websites on women & heart disease: statistics, stories, information, etc.

www.iamproheart.com – Topic is Straight Talk:  Woman’s Guide to Heart Health, Joyce Behar as spokesperson.

www.womenheart.orgNational Coalition for Women for Heart Disease

www.eptrail.com/estes-park-news – Women and heart disease: getting to the heart of the matter

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