Ask American women what disease they’re most scared of, and the vast majority will answer without hesitation: breast cancer. They may even cite the ominous statistic that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. But what most women don’t realize is that they actually have far more to fear from heart disease, which will strike 1 out of every 3. More than 500,000 women die in the U.S. each year of cardiovascular disease, making it, not breast cancer (40,000 deaths annually), their No. 1 killer.
Women and heart disease? Better believe it. For while most people still think of cardiovascular trouble as mainly a man’s problem, the reality is that heart disease has never discriminated between the sexes. In fact, for a variety of complex reasons, the condition is more often fatal in women than in men and is more likely to leave women severely disabled by a stroke or congestive heart failure. True, women don’t usually start showing signs until their 60s–about 10 years after men first develop symptoms. And hormones seem to play a protective role in women before menopause. But the common belief that premenopausal women are immune to heart problems is just plain wrong. Heart attacks strike 9,000 women younger than 45 each year.
Statistics from the American Heart Association show that:
?????More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined;
?????More women die from cardiovascular disease ??? one in three women ??? than breast cancer, which kills one in 31 women in the United States;
?????Some eight million women in the United States live with heart disease;
?????But only one in six women in the country consider the disease her greatest health risk, and;
?????Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.