Common Myths About Women and Heart Disease


HeartDisease is the leading cause of death in Two Rivers Public Health Department. When comparing the women in TRPHD to those inNebraska:

  • More women have been toldthey have had a heart attack or that they have heart disease.
  • More women havehigh cholesterol and fewer have had it checked.

Hereare some myths about women and heartdisease:

Myth: Heart disease is for men, and cancer is the realthreat for women.

Fact: Heart disease strikes more women thanmen, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While 1 in 31American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1-3 women die of heartdisease.

Myth: Heart disease is for old people.

Fact: Heart disease affects women of allages. The combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart diseaserisks by 20 percent. Overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can also increase risk.

Myth: Heart disease doesn't affect women who are fit.

Fact: Factors like cholesterol, eating habitsand smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits like regular exercise.You can be thin and have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Work withyour doctor to manage these factors.

Myth: I don't have any symptoms.

Fact: 64 percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart diseasehad no previous symptoms. Women are somewhat more likely to experience shortnessof breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Women should look out fordizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upperabdomen and extreme fatigue.

Myth: Heart disease runs in my family, so there's nothingI can do about it.

Fact: Although women with a family history ofheart disease are at higher risk, there's plenty you can do to dramaticallyreduce it. Make these recommendations part of your life: