“A crucial step in determining your risk is to see your doctor for a thorough checkup. Your doctor can be an important partner in helping you set and reach goals for…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Heart Disease and Women’s Risk Factors Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD
  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
  • Heart Conditions
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Heart Disease/s

Heart Disease

What is heart disease?

DotS the definition of heart disease may vary. The (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition is:

“The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack”.2

Risk Factors

What are risk factors?

DotS the definition of risk factors may vary. The (United States) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) definition is:

“Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse”.3

Heart Disease Risk Factors

What are heart disease risk factors we can do something about?

In Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? the NHLBI explain:

“Important risk factors for heart disease are:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high blood cholesterol
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a family history of early heart disease
  • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Age (55 or older for women).
Some risk factors, such as age and family history of early heart disease, can’t be changed”.4

Age

For women, when does age become a risk factor for heart disease?

According to the NHLBI above:

  • “Age (55 or older for women)”.5

In Keep Your Heart Healthy: The Basics: Overview – Am I At Risk for Heart Disease? the (United States) Healthfinder.gov note:

“Your age and family history also affect your risk for heart disease. Your risk is higher if:

  • You are a woman over age 55
  • You are a man over age 45
  • Your father or brother had heart disease before age 55
  • Your mother or sister had heart disease before age 65”.6

Family History

Is there an association between family history and heart disease?

Yes. In Family History the British Heart Foundation elaborate on:

“If you have a family history of a heart or circulatory disease you’re at higher risk of developing conditions like coronary heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke”.7

Diabetes

Is there an association between diabetes and heart disease?

Yes. In Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke the (United States) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:

“Having diabetes means that you are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of a heart attack or a stroke. People with diabetes are also more likely to have certain conditions, or risk factors, that increase the chances of having heart disease or stroke, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol”.8

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and heart disease?

Yes. The NHLBI explain:

Heart Disease and Women’s Risk Factors“After menopause, women are more apt to get heart disease, in part because their body’s production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause. Another reason for the increasing risk is that middle age is a time when women tend to develop risk factors for heart disease”.9

The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health note:

“Before menopause, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men, but as women age and their oestrogen levels fall after menopause, their risk of cardiovascular disease increases”.10

Lower Risk

How can women choose to lower their risk of heart disease?

The NHLBI explain:

“Being more physically active and eating a healthy diet are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important”.11

In Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? the NHLBI also note:

“You may wonder: If I have just one risk factor for heart disease—say, I’m overweight or I have high blood cholesterol—aren’t I more or less “safe”? Absolutely not. Each risk factor greatly increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease. But having more than one risk factor is especially serious, because risk factors tend to “gang up” and worsen each other’s effects. So, the message is clear: Every woman needs to take her heart disease risk seriously—and take action now to reduce that risk”.12

Health Care Provider

What is it important for women to keep in mind about heart disease risk?

In Heart Disease: It’s Not Just for Men – You and Your Doctor: A Heart Healthy Partnership the NHLBI remind us:

“A crucial step in determining your risk is to see your doctor for a thorough checkup. Your doctor can be an important partner in helping you set and reach goals for heart health. But don’t wait for your doctor to mention heart disease or its risk factors. Many doctors don’t routinely bring up the subject with women patients”.13

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Heart Disease and Women’s Risk Factors?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Heart Disease and Women’s Risk Factors?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Heart Disease: It’s Not Just for Men – How Do I Find Out If I Am Art Risk for heart Disease? You and Your Doctor: A Heart Healthy Partnership. National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/heart-disease-not-just-men Accessed: 22 May 2020
  2. Heart Disease: About Heart Disease. Page Last Reviewed: 20 March 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm Accessed: 22 May 2020
  3. Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/listen-to-your-heart Accessed: 22 May 2020
  4. Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/listen-to-your-heart Accessed: 22 May 2020
  5. Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/listen-to-your-heart Accessed: 22 May 2020
  6. Keep Your Heart Healthy: The Basics: Overview – Am I At Risk for Heart Disease? Content Last Updated on: 22 January 2020. Healthfinder.gov https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/keep-your-heart-healthy Accessed: 22 May 2020
  7. Family History. British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/family-history Accessed: 22 May 2020
  8. Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke. February 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke Accessed: 22 May 2020
  9. Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/listen-to-your-heart Accessed: 22 May 2020
  10. Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease. Last Updated: 14 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/health-after-menopause Accessed: 22 May 2020
  11. Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/listen-to-your-heart Accessed: 22 May 2020
  12. Listen To Your Heart: Learn About Heart Disease – What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease? National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/listen-to-your-heart Accessed: 22 May 2020
  13. Heart Disease: It’s Not Just for Men – You and Your Doctor: A Heart Healthy Partnership. National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/heart-disease-not-just-men Accessed: 22 May 2020
Topic Last Updated: 22 May 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 22 May 2020
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