Women and Heart Disease


According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Cardiovascular diseases in the United States kills approximately one in three women, but 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

Dr. Adam Falcone, cardiologist with Waco Cardiology Associates and Ascension Providence was recently  featured on KXXV with important information about women and heart disease.

Warning signs for women and heart disease:

Heart disease and heart attacks can affect women and men differently. The number one sign for heart attack is chest pressure. Men typically have pain or numbness in their left arm as well. Women usually experience shortness of breath and pain or numbness in their jaw or neck in addition to the chest pressure.

Women who have symptoms of heart disease or heart attack often think it’s not happening to them. When women have heart disease symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, they often assume it’s a number of other issues such as stress, getting older or that they are not in shape. We need to educate people so that women are more likely to identify these symptoms correctly.

Steps women need to take to reduce their risk from heart disease:

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the second leading cause of preventable heart disease and stroke death — second only to smoking. There  are simple steps women can take to check their risk for heart disease. Mainly, women need to check these important health factors:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood sugar
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)

Women can request tests to check these health factors with their primary care doctors and shouldn’t be shy about talking about their heart health with their doctors.

Starting points for lifestyle changes to help prevent heart disease:

    • Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five times per week.
    • If your BMI is over the normal range (18-25), try to lose weight.
    • Eat more fruits, vegetables and lean proteins such as fish or chicken.