The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women
The Heart Truth®
When you hear the term "heart disease," what is your first reaction? Like many women, you may think, "That's a man's disease" or "Not my problem." But here is The Heart Truth: Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States. Most women don't know this. But it is vital that you know it—and know what it means for you.
Some surprising facts:
- Of the women who died in 2007 (the most current year for which data are available), 1 in 4 died from heart disease.
- Twenty-three percent of women will die within 1 year after having a heart attack.
- Within 6 years of having a heart attack, about 46 percent of women become disabled with heart failure. Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.
The fact is, if you've got a heart, heart disease could be your problem. Fortunately, it's a problem you can do something about. This handbook will help you find out your own risk of heart disease and take steps to prevent and control it.
For women in midlife, taking action is particularly important. Once a woman reaches menopause, her risks of heart disease and heart attack jump dramatically. One in eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease, and this increases to one in four women over 65.
Of the women who died in 2007 (the most current year for which data are available), 1 in 4 died from heart disease.
You still may be thinking, "But this isn't about me. I don't have heart disease." But you may have conditions or habits that can lead to heart disease, such as being overweight, smoking cigarettes, or not engaging in enough physical activity. You may already know about these and other "risk factors" for heart disease. You may know which ones you personally have. What you may not know, though, is that if you have even one risk factor, you are much more likely to develop heart disease, with its many serious consequences. 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.
But now here's the good news: You have tremendous power to prevent heart disease—and you can start today. By learning about your own personal risk factors and by making healthful changes in your diet, physical activity, and other daily habits, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing heart-related problems. Even if you already have heart disease, you can take steps to lessen its severity. So use this handbook to learn more about heart healthy living. Talk with your physician to get more answers. Start taking action today to protect your heart. As one woman doctor put it, "Heart disease is a 'now' problem. Later may be too late."
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Last Updated: February 29, 2012