Heart & Vascular

Heart Disease in Women

It's no secret that women and men have many differences and that's certainly true with regard to heart disease. Women are affected differently than men. At Carilion Clinic we not only provide the specialized resources and treatment for women with heart disease, we also are committed to spreading awareness around our Virginia community in the hope that we can, literally, save many families from heartache.

If you are a woman (or simply care about one) you'll benefit from our community health education programs, special events and other resources dedicated specifically to helping women understand their unique risks and symptoms so they'll get the treatment they need.

One reason heart disease is a bigger threat to women is that many women aren't aware of their risks and warning signs. Heart disease is the number one killer of women.

Here are a few facts:

  • One in four women in the United States dies of heart disease, while 1 in 30 dies of breast cancer.
  • Twenty-three percent of women will die within one year after having a heart attack.
  • Within six years of having a heart attack, about 46 percent of women develop heart failure.
  • Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.

In women, heart disease symptoms can be subtle. They may include:

  • Pain or discomfort around the chest
  • Upper body pain: arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath, nausea, light-headedness, cold sweats

For women as well as men, early stage heart disease often has no symptoms. If you have unhealthy habits, such as smoking, eating unhealthy foods and/or not exercising enough, it's important to be aware that even small lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease. Awareness is the best way to catch heart disease before it has set in. Talk with your health care provider to make sure you have checked your health profile for signs of early heart disease.

Carilion is committed to continuous community outreach to help our women stay healthy. Please visit our community calendar for information on screenings, educational programs and health events focused on women's heart health.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or heart failure.