Women and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women – it causes 1 in 3 deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association. Yet, many women don’t consider heart disease to be their greatest threat.

Consider these sobering facts:

  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. And, the gap between men and women’s survival continues to grow.
  • Symptoms of heart disease can be different in women than in men and are often misunderstood. Heart attacks don’t always cause chest pain, and women are more likely to experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, or back or jaw pain.

What Causes Heart Disease?

It’s important for women to know about this deadly – but preventable – disease. Heart disease affects your blood vessels and cardiovascular system. It’s often caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque (a fatty substance) inside the walls of your arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries and can lead to a blockage, which can stop blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.

There are other types of heart disease in which your heart doesn’t function properly, such as heart failure, heart arrhythmia and heart valve problems.

Contact Your Heart & Vascular Team

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For a new patient cardiology appointment, call (859) 287-3045.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Although some heart attacks can be sudden and intense, most heart attacks begin slowly, with mild pain and symptoms. Knowing the symptoms can help save your life.

The warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest discomfort – An uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.

  • Discomfort in other areas of your upper body – Can include pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or your back, neck, jaw or stomach.

  • Shortness of breath – With or without chest discomfort.

  • Other signs – May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, arm numbness or extreme fatigue. Women are more likely to report these less common symptoms, sometimes in the absence of other, more typical symptoms.

Don’t drive. Don’t delay. Call 911 right away.

Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call 911 — don’t drive. Fast action can save your life or someone else’s. When you call 911, paramedics can start providing care and let the Emergency Department know they’re on the way.

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Unparalleled Heart Care

St. Elizabeth Edgewood has attained advanced certification by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association as a Comprehensive Cardiac Center, placing us in an elite group of hospitals that have met high standards to fully address the needs of patients with complex cardiac conditions.

The Joint Commission and American Heart Association Certification - Meets Standards for Comprehensive Cardiac Center