Heart Health

We just want to share a few statistics on heart disease to further emphasize the importance of volunteers and giving back in the fight against heart disease.

healthy heart and women

healthy heart and women

  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually.
  • Someone dies every thirty seconds from heart disease or stroke. It is said that by 2020, heart disease will be the leading cause of death throughout the world.
  • An estimated 80 million Americans have one or more types of heart disease.

Putting these statistics into context, there isn’t a doubt that you have been affected by heart disease through a family member, friend, colleague or yourself. The only way to counteract the growth of this disease is by raising awareness, increasing research and spreadin the word of prevention. Now is the perfect time to find a way to raise that awareness, show support and give back to the community.

Below is a list of ways to help in your area:

  • Wear red to support heart health
  • Start a conversation with coworkers, peers or family about heart health
  • Be an advocate for heart disease
  • Volunteer your time with the local American Heart Association
  • Volunteer at the Red Heels Walk brought to you by Community Action Team on February 16
  • Volunteer time or donate

What is Heart Disease?

When you hear the term “heart disease,” you may think, “That’s a man’s disease” or “Not my problem.” But here is The Heart Truth®: one in four women in the United States dies of heart disease, while one in 30 dies of breast cancer. If you’ve got a heart, heart disease could be your problem. Learn more about heart disease.

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

An astonishing 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factor for heart disease. Having one or more risk factors dramatically increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease because risk factors tend to worsen each other’s effects. In fact, according to research compiled by the NHLBI, having just one risk factor doubles your chance of developing heart disease.

Whatever a woman’s age, she needs to take action to protect her heart health. Heart disease can begin early, even in the teen years, and women in their 20s and 30s need to take action to reduce their risk of developing heart disease. Yet among U.S. women ages 18 and older, 17.3 percent are current smokers, 51.6 are overweight (BMI of 25 or greater), 27 percent have hypertension, 35 percent have high cholesterol, and 53 percent do not meet physical activity recommendations. African American and Hispanic women, in particular, have higher rates of some risk factors for heart disease and are disproportionately affected by the disease compared to white women. More than 80 percent of midlife African American women are overweight or obese, 52 percent have hypertension, and 14 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes. Some 83 percent of midlife Hispanic women are overweight or obese, and more than 10 percent have been diagnosed with diabetes.

To learn more, read about heart disease risk factors or watch The Heart Truth’s Heart Attack Risk Factors video, which address the two types of risk factors associated with heart attacks.

How Do I Find Out if I Am at Risk for Heart Disease?

Some women believe that doing just one healthy thing will take care of all their heart disease risk. For example, they may think that if they walk or swim regularly, they can still smoke and stay fairly healthy. This is wrong. To protect your heart, it is vital to make changes that address each risk factor you have. Find out how to lower heart disease risk.

A damaged heart can damage your life by interfering with enjoyable activities and even your ability to do simple things, such as taking a walk or climbing steps. Heart disease cannot be “cured.” It is a lifelong condition—once you get it, you’ll always have it.

Fortunately, it’s a problem you can do something about. Find out your risk for heart disease and take steps to prevent and control it. Talk to your doctor to get more answers. Start taking action today to protect your heart. Heart disease is preventable—by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking steps to manage risk factors, women can reduce their risk for heart disease.

Of the women who died in 2008, one in four women dies from heart disease. It’s the #1 killer of women, regardless of race or ethnicity. It also strikes at younger ages than most people think, and the risk rises in middle age.

Number of Deaths* – Heart Disease, 305,630
Number of Deaths* – Stroke, 80,620
Number of Deaths* – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 71,760
Number of Deaths* – Lung Cancer, 70,070
Number of Deaths* – Breast Cancer, 40,590
Number of Deaths* – Diabetes, 35,210

*National Center for Health Statistics
Unpublished NHLBI tabulation of 2008 mortality data.