Most women are unaware of the number one killer of women in the US.
In the United States today, a woman will die of heart disease every 80 seconds, and over 75 percent of these deaths could have been prevented, if women and their doctors were more aggressive in recognizing and treating the disease.
Almost 44 million women in the country are living with some form of heart disease today, according to a story on usnews.com. And during February, which has been designated as Go Red for Women month, the American Heart Association (AHA) is calling attention to the number one killer of women (and men) in the US, by raising awareness and promoting the engagement of women in recognizing the symptoms of heart disease.
Deaths due to heart disease are on the decline, likely due to better recognition and treatment options, but still, many women in particular are dying due to the fact their symptoms may not be the same as men, and some are saying the woman’s role as the family’s primary caregiver is adding to the mix.
Women often put less importance on their needs and desires, making sure the family members come first, and that sometimes includes seeing a physician for fear of being lost to the family for a period of time. A great deal of emphasis is being focused on women’s health with regard to things like breast cancer and other woman-specific illnesses, but it certainly would benefit women to re-focus on the perils of heart disease.
Women are less likely to be treated with proven medications, like ACE inhibitors, and statin drugs, that have been shown to help prevent cardiac events, and fewer women are referred to cardiac rehabilitation as men, despite trials that show women actually receive more benefit from the therapy than their male counterparts.
But the one of the biggest factors is that women themselves simply don’t know about their risk for heart disease. Few know that the number of women who die from heart disease is greater that those who die from breast and lung cancer combined, and being unaware, do not take steps to lower their risks.
So, what is a woman to do? Make yourself aware of the symptoms that women have when experiencing heart disease, engage with your regular physicians to monitor the vital signs, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart disease related indicators, and perhaps more importantly, take time to evaluate your own health as well as the health of your loved ones.
The most-appreciated gift you can give to your family is to stay with them for as long as your can.