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Woman And Heart Disease

Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," it is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States with women comprising 51% if the total heart disease deaths.

Of the 1,244,123 deaths among women in 2002, 28.6% were due to diseases of the heart.

Awareness of heart disease as the number one killer of women:

Good news: According to surveys by the American Heart Association, the percentage of women who spontaneously identified heart disease as the number one killer of women increased from 30% in 1997 to 46% in 2003.

Bad news: Only 13% of the women in the 2003 survey perceived heart disease as their greatest health problem. While this is an increase from the 7% level in 1997, it still reflects an attitude that heart disease is "not my problem."

Heart disease is often perceived as an "older woman's disease," and it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older. However, heart disease is the 3rd leading cause of death among women aged 25–44 years of age and the 2nd leading cause of death among women aged 45–64 years.

In 2002, age–adjusted death rates for heart disease were higher among black women (169.7 per 100,000) than among white women (131.2 per 100,000).

There is a range of risk for heart disease depending on family and personal health history and the treatment recommendations from a physician will depend on a woman's level of risk.

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