What do women really worry about when it comes to health? In a very informal and completely unscientific study I conducted among women friends, family members, and coworkers, the number one health concern that always surfaced was cancer -- especially breast cancer.
Unfortunately, while understanding and knowing your cancer risk is a good thing, the simple truth is that cancer is not the number one killer of women overall. While some ethnicities fare better than others, heart disease continues to be the number one killer of women in the United States.
All cancers combined come in at second place. Surprisingly, while breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, lung cancer causes far more deaths in women -- almost double -- than breast cancer. (Cancer Among Women 1)
Despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women overall, not all women share the same level of risk when it comes to heart-disease related death.
Your genetic heritage, that is your ethnicity, also plays a role when it comes to heart disease. Some ethnicities have a higher risk than others when it comes to heart disease.
Consider the following facts from the Centers for Disease Control:
• Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. One in four women dies of heart-related disease in the United States each year. Over all, a death from heart disease occurs every 35 seconds!
• Stroke accounts for another 6.7 percent of all deaths in women annually.
• White women, black women, and women of Hispanic descent have the highest rates of death from heart-related disease at 25.2 percent -- slightly over the national average of 25.1 percent -- for white and black women, and 22.3 percent for Hispanic women.
• Women of American Indian or Native Alaskan descent fare slightly better when it comes to heart disease than do women of other ethnicities, with a death rate of slightly over 17 percent compared to a national average of more than 25 percent overall. Also, the leading cause of death for American Indian and Native Alaskan women is cancer -- 18.8 percent -- and not heart disease.