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Are Women More at Risk of Heart Disease Than Men?

We joke that men and women seem to be from different planets sometimes, but aren’t we all human at the end of the day? Don’t men and women work the same way and have the same health risks? Well, yes and no.

When it comes to something as serious as heart disease, which has been the leading cause of death in the United States for each of the past 100 years, it’s worth peeling back the layers.

At Upper East Side Cardiology, Dr. Satjit Bhusri and the team provide specialized heart-health services for women, with the understanding that the fairer sex has some unique cardiovascular concerns.

So, as part of this gender-specific care, as well as our overall preventive cardiology approach, we’re going to focus on whether women are more at risk for heart disease.

Comparing risks for heart disease

We refer a good deal to the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country, and this statement applies to both genders. In other words, separated out, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, just as it is for men.

In terms of numbers, more men have heart disease and die because of it each year. In 2021, 1 in every 5 deaths in women was due to heart disease compared to 1 in 4 deaths in men. Heart disease led to nearly 385, 000 deaths in men and slightly more than 310,000 deaths in women.

So, according to the numbers, men are, in reality, more at risk for heart disease than women. But this is a bird’s-eye view of the issue, and there are some nuances that we want women to plug into the equation.

Cardiovascular concerns for women

While men may, technically, be more at risk for heart disease than women, we still want women to understand that their risks are still very high. More women tend to be concerned about conditions like breast cancer, even though heart disease kills 6 times as many women each year than breast cancer.

Diving a little deeper into the numbers, another area where we want women to take notice is in some more specific statistics. For example, research has found that women may be 20% more at risk for developing heart failure or dying within the first five years after a severe heart attack than men.

Women also have different risk factors for heart disease, such as gestational diabetes, hormone therapies, and other reproductive conditions that can affect your cardiovascular health.

Heart disease in women is preventable

We understand that the information we’ve provided until now has leaned more toward scare tactics, and we apologize for that, sort of. Our goal is to get your attention and illustrate that heart disease is a clear and present danger for everyone.

But if you were to really focus on a statistic, it should be this one — 90% of heart disease is preventable through improved diet, more exercise, and quitting smoking.

Aside from these heart-healthy practices, we can help you come up with a more detailed and targeted prevention plan depending upon your unique, and feminine, risk factors. 

For comprehensive women’s heart-health care, please contact our New York City office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to set up an appointment. You can also call (212) 752-3464.

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