Deadly Myths about Women, Heart Disease and Stroke
(courtesy of the American Heart Association)
Myth #1: Heart disease is a man's problem. Heart disease is epidemic in women as well as men. The question isn't if women are likely to get it, but when - usually 10 years after men do. By then, women are often more concerned about cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis, which tend to draw attention away from the steadily ticking bomb of heart disease.
Myth #2: Women have an innate protection against heart disease. Before 50, women seem to be protected from heart disease by estrogen, which lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. But as women approach menopause, their LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels rise. Loss of estrogen is a significant contributor to heart disease risk after menopause.
Myth #3: Women should be more concerned about cancer and osteoporosis. Cancer and other diseases common in women deserve research and attention... but heart disease ranks far ahead as a cause of death. It kills nearly twice as many women as all forms of cancer combined, more than the next 16 causes of death combined.
Myth #4: If a heart attack doesn't kill you, you'll recover and be fine. More men have heart attacks than women do and have them earlier in life... but women have less chance of surviving them. 44 percent of women die within a year compared to 27 percent of men. In the first six years after a heart attack, the rate of having another one is 31 percent for women and 23 percent for men.
Myth #5: Stroke strikes randomly without warning. You can't prevent it. Many strokes result from a lifetime of bad habits. To reduce your risk:
- Control high blood pressure
- Don't smoke
- Get regular check-ups
- Learn stroke warning signs and
- Get emergency medical help if warning signs appear