Heart Risk Factors for Women

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Women's Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Did you know that an American woman is five times more likely to develop heart disease than breast cancer? Cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke kills more women annually than any other illness—including all the cancers combined. I find it mind-boggling that, despite this, many surveys still indicate that misdiagnosis, under-diagnosis, and lack of effective treatment for heart disease are still very common for women today.

I also want you to be aware that, because most cardiologists still see heart disease as a male phenomenon, they treat women less effectively and less aggressively than they treat men, often with catastrophic results. For example, if a 45-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man both come into the emergency room with chest pain, most physicians will probably admit the man and tell the woman her symptoms are due to stress and anxiety. 

This is because most doctors are trained to believe that serious cardiovascular problems have a low probability in women. Not many realize that among peri- and post-menopausal women, the incidence of coronary events quadruples as women approach middle age (45 years old and older.)

For more information on heart risk factors for women, visit www.drsinatra.com.

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