Heart disease is the world’s number one killer.
It is responsible for one in every three deaths. It affects women and men with no respect for geography or economics. While heart disease has decreased in men, heart disease has increased in women. Women may not realize the higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. In fact, heart disease is now the number #1 killer for women in the U.S. That is why it is so important to take action toward maintaining a healthy heart.
Healthcare professionals are now placing greater emphasis on the research and treatment of women and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association new published guidelines (Feb. 2007), cardiovascular disease in women is not just looked at from a short-term perspective but on the women’s lifetime heart disease risk. More than 40% of women at age 50 in the U.S. will develop cardiovascular disease during their lifetime. But researchers say the danger is much greater for people who have multiple risk factors for heart disease by age 50.
Women who were already diagnosed with heart disease were “vastly under-treated” with medication to improve their risk factors. The alarming rise in coronary heart disease among women has provided a “wake-up call” to the cardiovascular field. More women die of heart disease each year than men, yet women receive less modern treatment like angioplasty, bypass surgery, etc. than men.
The first-ever comprehensive lifetime risk assessment for cardiovascular disease highlights the importance of reducing risk early in life to prevent heart and vascular disease later on. Cardiovascular disease events included heart attack, angina, coronary heart disease, stroke, and claudication (peripheral arterial disease). Reducing risk means maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, keeping cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control, and not smoking.