Wear Red for Heart Disease


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Heart Disease and Women
Risks and Help

Factors That Increase Women's Heart Disease Risk

Those beyond your control:

  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Being 55 or older
Those you can take action against:

  • Smoking-about 22.6 million women smoke
  • High blood pressure-about 25 percent of women have hypertension, the condition's medical name; uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart failure, which affects about 2.5 million women
  • High blood cholesterol-about 55.5 million women have high total cholesterol
  • Overweight/obesity-about 62 percent of women are overweight, including about 33 percent who are obese
  • Physical inactivity-more women than men are physically inactive, with more than 25 percent of women engaging in no leisure-time physical activity and more than 60 percent of women do not meet the recommended amount of at least 30 minutes a day of moderately intense physical activity, such as brisk walking
  • Diabetes-nearly 6 million women have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 2.8 million are undiagnosed
For Women with Heart Disease:

  • About 6.7 million American women have heart disease.
  • Heart disease has no quick fix-even if a special procedure, such as an angioplasty, is performed, heart disease will worsen unless treated with lifestyle changes and medication.
  • About 35 percent of women who have had a heart attack will have another within 6 years.
  • About half of women who have a heart attack will be disabled with heart failure within 6 years. Heart failure is a life-threatening condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.
To learn more about heart disease and how to lower your risk:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute www.hearttruth.gov
TTY: 240-629-3255

Office on Women's Health, DHHS
National Women's Health Information Center
TDD: 1-888-220-5446

American Heart Association
1-888-MY HEART

WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

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