Not All Hearts Are the Same

Matters of the heart can be quite different in men and women. Heart attack in both men and women is often described as chest heaviness but women also report nausea, sweating, vomiting and pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back. Women can even have diseases that mimic a heart attack such as a coronary spasm, when a blood vessel clamps down; a coronary dissection, when the wall of a blood vessel tears; and broken heart syndrome, when enzymes in the blood and changes in the heart muscle create a chemical heart attack but there are no blocked arteries.

Some of the risk factors for heart disease in women are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Excess weight
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Stress and depression


Did you know that:

  • High blood pressure affects more than 56 million women in the U.S.?
  • High blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke and can lead to early death?
  • High blood pressure is often underdiagnosed and fewer than 25% of women have their condition under control?
  • Black women are nearly 60% more likely to have high blood pressure than White women?
  • Pregnant women with high blood pressure have twice the risk of developing heart disease later in life? (In the U.S. high blood pressure develops in 1 in every 8 pregnancies.)