Heart Disease in Women Statistics: 1 in 3 Have Heart Disease; It’s Not Just A Man’s Disease!

The common misconception is that heart disease does not impact women as much as it does men. Here are some heart disease in women statistics that will open your eyes to the extent of the problem in women.

Heart disease is related to several heart conditions: stroke, cardiovascular diseases, coronary artery disease, and heart attack. It is one of the most common causes of death among both men and women in the US. More than one in three women suffer from heart disease, and younger women are more likely to have heart attacks. 

Many people think that more men predominantly suffer from heart disease. But almost one out of three women die each year due to heart disease in the US. 

Heart Disease In Women Statistics

Heart attacks in a woman are common, but most of the time, people may ignore the signs and symptoms they might be slightly different from men. This is one of the reasons why there is an increase in the mortality rate among women.

The rate of heart attack decreased in older adults and has increased in women aged 35 to 54 years. Fortunately, 80% of cardiovascular disease and stroke can be prevented with early treatment and having a healthy lifestyle.

This article looks at some latest statistical data about heart disease among women in this article.

Women And Heart Disease: Key Facts

  • Heart Disease is one of the significant causes of death among women in the US. In 2017, around 299,578 (one in five women) people died due to heart disease[2].
  • African American and white women in the US suffer from some kind of heart disease resulting in death[2].
  • Deaths due to heart disease and cancer among American Indian and Alaska women are almost the same[2].
  • Around 6.2% of the women (1 in 16) above the age of 20 have coronary heart disease. It is one of the most common heart diseases people suffer from[2].
  • There has been a decrease in the mortality rate among men and women, but heart disease remains the number one cause of death among women worldwide. It is the cause of death in both developed and developing countries[1].
  • Unlike breast cancer, women suffer more from heart disease. Almost half of the women die due to sudden cardiac arrest. This accounts for 39% of death[1].
  • Around 215,000 women die from coronary heart disease compared to 41,000 of them who die from breast cancer[1].
Heart Disease In Women Statistics

Women And Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a significant cause of death among women in America. More than 400,000 women die every year in the US (one death in every 80 seconds)[4]. Almost the same number of people die due to CVD as all other forms of cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes combined.

  • In 2014, 1 in 32 females died due to breast cancer, whereas 1 in 3 females died due to CVD[4].
  • It had the worst statistics when the age and race of people were considered. Around 48% of African American women died from CVD, and the prevalence among Caucasian women was 35%[4].
  • Among women above 20, around 31.9% of non-Hispanic whites, 48.3% non-Hispanic blacks, and 32.5% Hispanics suffer from cardiovascular disease[6].
  • Women below 75 years of age had a great chance of developing stroke than men[6].
  • Around 75% of heart disease is preventable among women with healthy lifestyle choices such as being physically active, not smoking, and following a healthy diet[4].
  • Around 161,000 women participated in Women’s Health Initiative programs in America, out of which 83% of women were at high risk of CVD[4].
  • Around 10% to 20% of women have health issues during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia increase the risk of developing CVD among women later in life. CVD is a major cause of death among new moms and causes one-third of maternal deaths. The highest mortality rates are among black women[7].
  • Around 51.9% of deaths among women are due to hypertension, high blood pressure, or silent attacks. And out of all females, around 57.6% of black females have hypertension. This is more than any other ethnicity or race[7].

Awareness Among Women

  • In 2012, around 56% of women did not know heart disease was the primary cause of death. However, the awareness among people has been doubled since 1997[5].
  • Further, 34% of Hispanic women and 36% of black women knew heart disease as one of the causes of death compared to 65% of white women[5].
  • According to 25% of women, high cholesterol and hypertension are the major risk factors for heart disease. Half of the people were not aware of the symptoms of heart-related diseases[5].
Heart Disease In Women Statistics

What Are The Symptoms Of Cardiovascular Disease Among Women

Most of the symptoms related to heart disease among men and women are common. But sometimes, women may have other health issues that may not be very obvious. The most commons signs of developing any form of heart disease are:

  • Chest discomfort or chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Severe fatigue or nausea.
  • Chest discomfort or shortness of breath while working out.
  • Pain in the left arm or the jaw.
  • Swelling in the abdomen, feet, and legs.

However, not every heart disease needs to have these symptoms. Women are likely to have atypical symptoms such as sharp, burning pain in the chest or pain in the neck, stomach, back, and throat.

Women And Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

  • In 2010, around 518,000 women discharged from hospital had CHD[6].
  • Around 3.6 Mn females who had strokes are alive today. Every year, more than 55,000 women than men have strokes. This is mainly because the lifespan of women is more than men[6].
  • In 2013, around 161,698 women died due to coronary heart disease and 50,742 from myocardial infarction.
  • In 2016, around 6.6 Mn women had CHD, out of which 2.7 Mn suffered from heart attackt[6].
  • Around 23% of females above 45 years recognize the initial stage of heart attack deaths in one year compared to 18% of males[6].
  • Among 20 years and older women, 1.8% of non-Hispanic whites had Myocardial Infarction, 1.7% of Hispanics, and 2.2% of non-Hispanic blacks[6].
Heart Disease In Women Statistics

Estrogen And Heart Disease Among Women

As per some studies, after menopause, women are at significant risk of developing heart disease. This is mainly because the estrogen level decreases during menopause, which mostly starts at age 50. 

Estrogen is related to a higher HDL level (good cholesterol) and a lower level of LDL (bad cholesterol). And when the natural estrogen is removed during menopause, there is a decrease in good cholesterol and an increase in bad cholesterol. This leads to a significant risk of developing heart disease in later years among women[9].

One out of four women above the age of 65 has some form of heart disease.

Women must be aware of all the risk factors that lead to heart disease and make some significant lifestyle changes if necessary.

You cannot control all the risk factors related to heart disease but can choose a healthy lifestyle such as being physically active, eating healthy, and taking medication. Let us look at some common risk factors.

Smoking

Smoking is one of the significant risk factors that lead to heart disease. There has been a decrease in the number of adult smokers in the last 20 years. But there has been an increase in the number of teenage girls who smoke. Smoking and having birth control pills increase the risk of stroke or heart attack. 

  • 1.4% of females of grades 9 to 12 are more likely to smoke cigars[6].
  • Among adults, 13.4% of black women, 7.4% of Hispanic white, and 18.3% of white women smoke[6].
  • No matter for long a person has smoked, he can quit it anytime and reduce the risk of heart diseases. After one year of quitting smoking, a person can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80%. And after seven years of not smoking, the risk of developing heart disease from smoking is gone[9].
Heart Disease In Women Statistics

High Blood Pressure

A person may not be aware if he has high blood pressure. And if not treated on time, it makes the heart beat faster and leads to heart attacks, kidney failure, or stroke. Women who have a family history of high blood pressure are at greater risk.

  • Pregnancy often leads to high blood pressure. But usually goes away after delivery. 
  • Women with preeclampsia have more chances of stroke, heart disease, or even clotting in veins years after pregnancy[9].

Obesity

One of the significant risk factors that leads to some form of heart disease is obesity, especially among women. 

  • Women who have a lot of fat around their waist are at more risk of developing heart disease. In the US, one-third of women are obese[9].
  • It is advisable to follow a healthy diet or consult a doctor or dietician to lose weight and stay healthy safely.

Diabetes

Women with diabetes are at greater risk of heart disease than men. 

  • The death rate due to CVD is three times more in women with diabetes than in men[1].
  • Women who are overweight and less active usually have diabetes and have a greater risk of developing heart disease. 
  • Proper management and treatment of diabetes are essential for healthy heart health among women.

A Few Final Words

Heart disease leads to death among men and women in the US. However, many women are not aware of the risk factors related to heart disease. Around one in four women dies from some kind of heart disease.

Heart Disease In Women Statistics

1 in 3 Women Have

I hope you found this article informative and eye-opening about the extent to which our women are subject to heart disease. Many people make jokes and memes about women and heart disease, but  I hope after reading these numbers they will not be joking anymore.

Lastly, keep yourself away from these diseases by following a healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking, being physically active, and controlling diabetes.

References