From The Go Red For Women Editors of the American Heart Association
Myth: Heart disease is for men, and cancer is the real threat for women
Fact: Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease claims the lives of one in three. That’s roughly one death each minute.
Myth: Heart disease is for old people
Fact: Heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease by 20 percent. Even if you lead a completely healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.
Myth: Heart disease doesn’t affect women who are fit
Fact: Even if you’re a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend, your risk for heart disease isn’t completely eliminated. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits.
Myth: I don’t have any symptoms
Fact: Sixty-four percent of women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Media has conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain, but women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Women should also look out for symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness/fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.
Myth: Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do about it
Fact: Although women with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, there’s plenty you can do to dramatically reduce it. Simply create an action plan to keep your heart healthy. Because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more than 627,000 of women have been saved from heart disease, and 330 fewer are dying per day.