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Heart Disease: An Equal Opportunity Killer

By Blogger
 
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I was absolutely thrilled when EmpowHer asked me to write some articles on women’s heart health. The need for this education was drilled home when my dear, sweet, wonderful husband, with his brilliant IQ of 158, asked me why women need to be concerned about their heart health!!!

I was, quite frankly, flabbergasted but it drove home the point that people do not really understand that cardiovascular (heart) disease is not just for men anymore - it’s an equal opportunity killer!!!

Did you realize that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States? Hello? Did you hear what I just said? Number one - número uno - aantal - numéro un - Nr. Eine!

One out of two women in the US dies of cardiovascular disease each year! On top of that, forty percent of all deaths in the US are cardiovascular related. There are more deaths from cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer combined! Holy smokes!!! Ladies, do I have your attention yet? The statistics certainly have my attention. Cardiovascular disease is a very serious threat to our health.

Most of us think of cardiovascular disease in terms of a heart attack but the definition is actually much broader. Cardiovascular disease includes such things as:
•Heart attack
•Stroke
•Chest pain (angina)
•Coronary artery disease (and other diseases of the blood vessels)
•Arrhythmias (problems with heart rhythm)
•Congenital heart defects (heart defects present at birth)

The good news is that most cardiovascular disease is preventable. If it’s preventable, I’m wondering why my doctor has not done something to get my attention as it relates to my heart health. Perhaps he did and I didn’t listen. He did say to lose a little weight but that didn’t get my attention. Telling me my cholesterol was too high didn’t get my attention either. Learning that one in two women will die from cardiovascular disease – well, now that has my attention!

If cardiovascular disease is preventable, then this is one area where we can all truly EMPOWER ourselves and possibly change not only our life expectancy but our future quality of life as well.

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

While heart disease is the number 1 killer in women, Mary ,there is also a silent killer lerking about in the dark deviouring women. The number 2 killer in women is pulmenary embolism (blood clots to the lungs) My first wife of forty years felt fine; she was just a little over weight and couldn't catch her breath over the forth of July week end, 2003. Monday morning I took her to the emergency room, an hour later she was dead. Had her doctor caught it she would have been taking blood thinner to prevent clots, but he didn't. My daughter was feeling tiered and no energy; I told her to get checked out because of the family history. The test were expensive and the doctor thought totally unnecessary but the test concluded she also had clotting blood. Check into this one also Mary and maybe save another precious sisters life. Keep up the excellent reporting. It's a far cry above the reporting thats going on in the national press now.

August 22, 2009 - 2:53pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

While heart disease is the number 1 killer in women, Mary ,there is also a silent killer lerking about in the dark deviouring women. The number 2 killer in women is pulmenary embolism (blood clots to the lungs) My first wife of forty years felt fine; she was just a little over weight and couldn't catch her breath over the forth of July week end, 2003. Monday morning I took her to the emergency room, an hour later she was dead. Had her doctor caught it she would have been taking blood thinner to prevent clots, but he didn't. My daughter was feeling tiered and no energy; I told her to get checked out because of the family history. The test were expensive and the doctor thought totally unnecessary but the test concluded she also had clotting blood. Check into this one also Mary and maybe save another precious sisters life. Keep up the excellent reporting. It's a far cry above the reporting thats going on in the national press now.

August 22, 2009 - 2:53pm
Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Anon...
Thank you so much for your post and sharing your story with us. I cannot even begin to imagine how devastating this must have been for you, especially when it is something that could have been prevented. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I'm so glad you recognized the symptoms and insisted that your daughter get tested. You probably saved her life. By sharing with us here, you may have saved other lives as well. Saving one of us won't make up for your loss but it may well spare another family from the same heartbreak.

I will research this topic for a future post. Thank you for making us aware of this.

August 22, 2009 - 4:47pm

Great article for getting the word out there! Heart disease has always been seen as a traditionally male problem for some reason. But as women carry more weight in general and on their waist and lead a poorer lifestyle, unfortunately heart disease knows no barriers.

I love all the focus that charities and people place on breast cancer awareness for women, but I wish some attention was placed on heart disease prevention for women too.

August 19, 2009 - 6:38pm
Blogger (reply to Kellie - My Health Software)

What has been interesting to me is the relative silence on heart disease with respect to women. I just talked to my mother this weekend and was telling her about these articles and found out that her mother had several minor heart attacks! I never knew this and this is important information that should have been passed on to the rest of us. It really brought the subject home to me in a new way knowing that one of my grandmothers had actually suffered a heart attack.

I agree on the need for prevention/awareness for heart disease prevention in women. Because of the focus on breast cancer, the survival great is greatly improved. But more women die of heart disease and we have considerably less information out there. I know that I'll be more vocal with my girlfriends in the future. Perhaps this Empowher forum can be a start in raising awareness for all of us.

August 22, 2009 - 7:43am

The statistics truly are frightening. And yet we as a group seem much more frightened of a diagnosis of breast cancer; much more inconvenienced by a diagnosis of diabetes; much more open to change when we receive some diagnoses than others. It still startles me when, in a commercial or on a talk show, there is a young woman who has had a heart attack. My mind still wants to believe that it's an aberration (and it is, somewhat, when they are young).

One out of two means there are a lot of us running around with some aspect of heart disease whose parent(s) did not have it, I guess? Maybe that's another aspect of the denial -- we are a society very oriented toward what we've inherited. But our generation and those after us have been exposed to a lifetime of more fatty food, more obesity, more factors that affect the health of our hearts.

Thanks so much for your post. I look forward to more.

August 18, 2009 - 9:54am
Blogger (reply to Diane Porter)

When I started researching this topic, I was really shocked at the statistics. I knew that heart disease was a hard hitter for women but didn't realize just how hard until I started looking into it. When I started comparing my personal health against the risk factors (coming in my next article!), I was even more shocked!

Genetics definitely plays a part but it is only one part. Lifestyle (food, diet, exercise - or the lack thereof!) also plays a huge part. To think that 50% of us will die from heart related disease is just so disturbing and definitely a statistics we need to change. The only way I can think of to do that is start educating, educating, educating - perhaps shouting from a few rooftops along the way will help as well! I'll be posting follow-up articles on this topic so please share with your girlfriends. It's important to a long and healthy life!

August 19, 2009 - 12:52pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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