We want to see healthy hearts in all people as they age, but women are especially at risk for heart diseaseThis first week of February, we celebrate Women’s Heart Health Week and beg the question: how can we help prevent heart disease in our aging female population? Let’s dive into 5 key things to know about women’s heart health and how your loved one can stay happy and healthy well into her senior years.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States
According to the CDC, heart disease kills 314,186 women in 2020 — or about 1 in every 5 female deaths. We mustn’t assume that heart disease is a purely male affliction. “Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a man’s disease, almost as many women as men die each year of heart disease in the United States” says the CDC. This makes it especially important to look out for the symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks in our female population; overlooking these signs can make the difference between catching disease early and a deadly medical prognosis.
Heart disease can happen at any age, but it’s most common after menopauseHormones play a huge role in heart health in women. According to an article Yale Medicine, “the incidence of heart disease in women starts going up around age 65 — about 10 years later than in men, likely due to the protective effects of estrogen.” Dr. Erica Spatz explains in the article that estrogen relaxes the heart and promotes good cholesterol. It’s important to note that not all cholesterol is bad for you — learn more from the CDC. Dr. Erica Spatz states:
“As estrogen declines, there is an emergence of cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol and hypertension, including in women who previously had normal or even low cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.”