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How common is heart disease among women?

Heart disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, is the number one cause of death for American women. Every year nearly 500,000 women die from heart disease, which is nearly 10 times the number of women who die from breast cancer.

Leading a heart healthy lifestyle is important for women of every age. Long considered a man's problem, heart disease now affects more females than males. Heart disease is responsible for 52 percent of all deaths in American women, claiming 250,000 female lives every year—more than all forms of cancer.

Even though it is often considered a "man's disease," heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, accounting for 25% of all female deaths each year. Even women who have no symptoms may be at risk for heart disease. Almost two-thirds of the women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.

Dr. Michael W. Gen, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Heart disease is quite common. One out of every three women die from heart disease in the United States every year. For example, I tell women attending events I speak at that if you look to your right or your left, and if neither woman has heart disease, then it’s likely that you will have it. It is the number one cause of death in women, and a leading cause of disability. According to the American Heart Association, one woman every 80 seconds has a heart attack in the United States. It affects approximately 44 million women in the United States every year.

According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Beginning in 1984, the number of CVD deaths for females began to exceed those for males. Research shows that women who have heart attacks are more likely to die within a year of the event compared to men, and a whopping 64 percent of women who died of sudden cardiac events had no previous symptoms.

Heart diseased among U.S. women is extremely common. It is estimated that nearly 45 million women in the U.S. have heart disease and that 90 percent of U.S. women have at least one, if not more, risk factors for heart disease and one in three U.S. female deaths are related to heart disease or stroke.

Women make up more than 50% of the total heart disease population in the United States. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, far outpacing breast cancer.

Many people think that women don't get heart disease. In fact, heart disease is an important health issue for women. Here's why:

  • Nearly 400,000 women die from heart disease every year—more than from breast, lung, uterine, and ovarian cancers combined. In fact, heart disease is the cause of death for one out of every four women.
  • Heart disease in women of all ages is growing rapidly.
  • At older ages, women who have heart attacks are more likely than men to die from them.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.