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Heart disease has long been seen as a men’s health issue, but in fact, it’s the #1 killer of both men and women in the U.S. Some 300,000 women died from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2017, about one in every 5 female deaths.
For a variety of reasons, many women don’t view heart disease as a health threat. Surveys find that women worry more about breast cancer on a daily basis, even though heart disease claims the lives of six times as many women each year. Even more, younger women often don’t see heart disease as a personal health risk because it tends to show up later in life. But younger women are at risk, too. As CVD death rates have been declining overall, death rates in women ages 35-54 have been increasing.
The most common type of CVD is coronary heart disease, a common term for clogged arteries, which can lead to heart attacks. Many women who are at higher risk of CVD don’t recognize heart attack symptoms.
But the good news is that CVD is largely preventable. A recent study found that 75 percent of heart disease cases can be prevented with better lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, exercise and adopting healthy eating habits. Read on to learn more about heart disease in women and steps you can take to prevent the condition.