Worldwide, cardiovascular disease is the single most common cause of death among women. It’s a common myth that women don’t get heart disease. Another common myth is that women are not at risk for heart attack until after menopause while the truth is that heart disease is the third most common cause of death among women ages 25 to 44 years old. The loss of natural estrogen may contribute to the risk of heart attack as women age but it has not been shown to protect women, according to the American Heart Association. `

Risk factors

  • High cholesterol, high blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Mental stress , anxiety and depression.
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary life style,  lack of physical activity
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
  • Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)
  • Rheumatic heart disease especially in our country
  • Tuberculosis which is common in our country may cause thickening of the membrane (pericardium) which lines the heart surface (Constrictive Pericarditis)

Warning Signs Particularly Common in Women

  • Sudden onset of weakness, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, indigestion, fatigue, body aches, overall feeling of illness (without chest pain).
  • Unusual feeling or mild discomfort in the back, chest,  left arm, neck, or jaw.
  • A valve diseases or a pericardial disease may present with gradually increasing discomfort in breathing or chest pain.

Symptoms can be more subtle than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. Women may describe chest pain as pressure or a tightness. This may be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Also Read:Know Your Health : Inculcating Healthy Eating Habits Among Children


Prevention and Cure

  • Avoid saturated fats, added sugars, and high amounts of salt.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly. Practice yoga.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats.


Heart disease treatment in women and in men is similar. Treatment may include medications, angioplasty and stenting, coronary bypass surgery or valve repair or replacement surgery depending upon the type of heart disease they have. Timely and effective treatment of high pressure and diabetes is of utmost importance in preventing heart disease in future.


Content by:

Dr. Udgeath Dhir

Director & Head, Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery (CTVS)

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram

For appointment or more information, call 0124 4962200 / 7162200

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Sector – 44, Opposite HUDA City Centre, Gurugram, Haryana 122002   l   Ambulance: 105010   l