February is American heart month and is a timely reminder to become more aware of how heart disease affects women; a disease mistakenly thought to be a male disease, though it kills as many women as men.

women and heart diseaseHeart disease is the leading cause of death of women in the United States – 315,930 women, which is 26% of the total number of women who died in the country, died because of heart disease in the year 2006.

What is also worrying is that two thirds of women who die from sudden heart attacks have had no prior symptoms of the disease.

Lifestyle factors and medical conditions that put women at higher risk of heart disease are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, diabetes, smoking, having a poor diet, excess alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

Making changes in respect of these risk factors can help women lower their heart disease risk.

Doing this month the following programs will help women resolve issues relating to heart disease –

CDC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program
Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN)
A Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

Go Red for Women, an event to increase heart disease awareness among women.