How dangerous is heart disease for women?

Samantha R. Avery, DO
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Heart disease is dangerous for women in part because often women don’t go to the hospital until days into the presentation of heart disease. The majority of women have atypical symptoms of heart disease that they usually ignore because it seems like an everyday type of thing, like fatigue and anxiety. They put it off for several days until finally it gets so bad that they eventually go to the hospital. This is usually after days of symptoms of the heart disease, which makes it much more difficult to treat the problem at that time. The disease has lasted a lot longer, so it's more difficult as far as the type of interventions and medications that can be used.

Time is muscle when it comes to the heart so if there is a significant blockage in one of the heart arteries, that muscle hasn't had enough blood flow for a certain amount of time, so there's more damage done to the heart the longer that women wait.
C D. Rios, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in America. In this video, cardiologist C. David Rios, MD, of Research Medical Center, explains the importance of knowing your health numbers and actively maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Lauren E. Frost, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Women are as susceptible to heart (cardiovascular) disease, especially coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis, as men are.

Ask just about any woman you know what illness she fears most of all, and she’ll likely respond with some type of cancer – most likely breast cancer. Yet heart disease remains the number-one killer of women in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Women get blocked arteries and have heart attacks just like men. But unlike men, who are more prone to classic symptoms when they have blocked arteries and heart attacks, women’s symptoms tend to be more subtle and often are dismissed as stress, fatigue or indigestion.

Women don’t commonly have the feeling that there’s an elephant sitting on their chest when they experience a heart attack. Instead, they may notice chest discomfort or may become short of breath when experiencing stress or strong emotions. These are not normal reactions, especially if you’ve never experienced these sensations before. These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you’re having a heart attack, but they could indicate heart disease and should be evaluated by a doctor to determine their cause.

This content originally appeared online at Baptist Health South Florida.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Awareness of the risks associated with heart disease is growing. Watch me explain why there is still a long way to go and what we can do to improve awareness.
Theodore Feldman, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Sometimes people think of heart disease as only a problem for men, but heart disease ranks as the number 1 killer of women in the U.S. Women are clearly at risk, especially after menopause. But before menopause, women have a relatively low incidence of heart disease, especially if they don’t smoke, have diabetes or have other genetic risk factors. 
Henry S. Lodge, MD
Internal Medicine
For reasons that are still unclear, women are relatively protected from cardiovascular disease before menopause, but catch up quickly and then surpass men in the decade after menopause. Two-thirds of strokes happen in women. And that two-thirds number keeps on rolling. Two-thirds of women have no warning symptoms before their first heart attack. Two-thirds of women never recover full function after a heart attack. Two-thirds of women who survive strokes suffer significant disability for the rest of their lives.
Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond

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Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond

Co-written by one of the country's most prominent internists, Dr. Henry "Harry" Lodge, and his star patient, the 73-year-old Chris Crowley, Younger Next Year for Women is a book of hope, a guide to...

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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.