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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women of all ages. The statistics have been around for some time, yet women continue to die from heart disease and the numbers are increasing. Often the first symptom is death.
In an effort to reintroduce critical cardiovascular disease legislation, and doing so during American Heart Month, the HEART for Women Act was reintroduced in the 111th Congress Feb. 12 taking the first step toward becoming legislation. If passed, the bill would improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke for women.
Approximately 44 million women have some form of heart disease, or are at risk for it, according to the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance.
The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease indicates nearly 460,000 women die from heart disease every year and about 9,000 women under the age of 45 have heart attacks each year.
“One out of every four women die of heart disease, while one in 30 dies of breast cancer,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “One out of every eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease. At age 65, this increases to one of every four women.”
Susan Laine for Women Heart of the NCWHD said, “One study shows the death rate in women with heart disease, ages 35-44, rose between 1997 and 2002. These are busy mothers and professional women cut down in the prime of life. And while there was a huge decline in death from heart disease in men (17.5 percent) in the past 30 years, it has decreased a mere 2.5 percent in women of all ages.”
With such dire statistics, it is imperative that women become familiar with their risk factors, know the symptoms of a heart attack and that they can be very different from the symptoms men experience. Women must also learn to be very proactive in their healthcare.