Heart Disease Risk Factors for Women

February 6, 2019
Picture a person who’s having a heart attack. Is the person in your mental picture a man or a woman? Heart disease is the leading killer of women—as it is of men. However, TV and movies depict men, mostly, suffering chest-clutching heart attack symptoms that send them straight to the hospital—or the morgue.

That’s why the American Heart Association created this video starring Elizabeth Banks. As is often the case, it’s impossible to tell the moment when her character’s heart attack actually begins. She powers through the earliest warning signs, which is also common. It’s a good reminder that women may experience heart attack warning signs differently.

Some people, especially women, experience widespread narrowing of the arteries without any actual blockages. And so-called silent heart attacks—where symptoms go completely ignored—still indicate significant heart disease in those who suffer them. By the time these invisible symptoms are discovered, it could be too late for noninvasive treatments.

That’s why men and women alike should consider the benefits of a cardiac CT, or heart scan, which detects the calcified plaque that can build up in coronary arteries. And women need to understand their heart disease risk factors.

Universal Heart Disease Risks

Both women and men should know the universal factors that put them at greater risk for heart disease:

Heart Disease Risks Specific to Women

A number of other risk factors are especially concerning for women:

What to Do if You’re at Risk

If you check the box for one or more of these risk factors, especially if you’re forty or over, you should consider lifestyle changes to reduce your risk. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and take steps to reduce your stress. If you smoke, Commit to Quit.

You should also consider the benefits of a $49 heart scan. It can show how much heart disease may have developed already, and help you understand your risk of developing further problems. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Preventing Heart Disease: Steps You Can TakeIrresistible Whole Grain Recipes

We Make Health Possible

As East Central Indiana’s population grows, we’re putting health care where people need it most. Besides Hancock Regional Hospital, ranked as one of the nation’s safest by the Lown Hospital Index, our network includes more than 30 other locations near your home or work.

Learn More about Hancock