Understanding Heart Disease

Heart disease the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.

With so much emphasis on cancer, heart disease is often over looked. Approximely 610,000 people die of heart disease every year in the US. That's 1 out of every 4 deaths! Every year nearly 735,000 American have heart attacks.
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans  have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease. They include:Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

Here's what heart disease means for women:
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a 'man's disease,' around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States.
  • About 5.8% of all white women, 7.6% of black women, and 5.6% of Mexican American women have coronary heart disease.4
  • 64% of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms.
  • Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

Here's how to reduce your risk of heart disease:
  • Know your blood pressure. High blood pressure has no symptoms so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglycerides with your healthcare provider.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.
  • Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress.

You can help raise awareness by joining the American Heart Associations 'Go Red for Women' campaign. Find out more about the campaign here.

Today is the last day of National Medical Assistants Week. Make sure to give your favorite MA a hug, a thank you, or a special treat!


  1. Heart health is so important! My Dad has high blood pressure and my grandma had heart issues. I am so much more aware and want to take care of myself better.


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  2. Thanks for sharing about such an important topic, Ashley!

  3. Heart health is near and dear to my heart. My grandfather died of heart disease, and heart disease runs in my mother's family. I love seeing awareness made for others!