Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined, the American Heart Association tells us. However, a survey in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, discovered that heart disease awareness remains low among African American, Hispanic, and Asian women. According to their surveys, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than other women.
In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association is kicking off American Heart Month with National Wear Red Day. Since its inception in 2002, the red dress has become a symbol of heart disease awareness among women, and through Wear Red Day, participants continue to spread awareness, reminding themselves and those in their lives that heart disease doesn't care who you are or what you wear: it is still very much the number one killer of women.
Information via the American Heart Association.
The following facts come from The Women’s Heart Foundation:
- Eight million women in the United States are currently living with heart disease. The rate of heart disease for African American women is 72 percent higher than for white women. Since 1984, more women have died each year from heart disease than men, and this gap only continues to widen.
- Every year, around 435,000 women have heart attacks. Around 267,000 of them die each year as a result. African American women between the ages of 55 and 64 are twice as likely as white women to have a heart attack.
- The young are not exempt: when they occur to women under the age of 50, heart attacks are twice as likely to be fatal for women as they are for men. Recovery is another place where men and women differ: women are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after suffering a heart attack. Forty-two percent of women who have heart attacks die within one year, compared to 24 percent of men.
- Seventy-one percent of women experience early warning signs of heart attack as weakness and flu-like symptoms, with no associated chest pain, making it more difficult for physicians to recognize their symptoms as a heart attack.
- Women are two to three times as likely to die following heart bypass surgery. Women between the ages of 40 and 59 are up to four times more likely to die from bypass surgery than their male counterparts.
- Women with hypertension are three and a half times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than women with normal blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a result of some forms of oral contraception (such as one containing progesterone).
- Women make up only 24 percent of participants in all studies conducted about heart health.
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