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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Women Know Your Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

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August 10, 2010

Chicago -

Six times as many women die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer each year.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of almost 500,000 women each year. Bones, Here In the United States, six times as many women die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer each year. Significant evidence suggests that most cardiovascular disease is preventable. An important step in reducing cardiovascular mortality in women is early detection of disease and modification of cardiovascular risk factors. In general, women develop the first signs of cardiovascular disease after menopause, which is about ten years later than men. It is essential to discuss your risk for cardiovascular disease with your health care provider.

Know your risk factors for cardiovascular disease and work to modify them.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Family history
  • Obesity

Know the symptoms of heart attack and stroke.

Heart attack

  • Chest discomfort
  • Cold sweat
  • Discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort


  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Center for Women's Cardiovascular Health is founded on the principles of identifying cardiovascular disease in women of all ages. The Center recognizes women as unique individuals and tailors treatment strategies to optimize their specific cardiovascular needs. The Center is dedicated to promoting women's awareness of cardiovascular health, addressing cardiovascular risk factors, providing care that is designed specifically for women and conducting research clinical trials to advance the knowledge of cardiovascular care for women.


American Heart Association
American Heart Association's Go Red for Women
Evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women: 2007 update


Center for Women's Cardiovascular Health
1-866-662-8467 (toll free)

Information line
312-MYHEART (694-3278)

Media Contact:

Kris Lathan, Director
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Last UpdateFebruary 8, 2011