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Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women

Heart disease risk factors in women, as in men, include high blood pressure, tobacco use, high cholesterol, and obesity. It's a myth to think that because you're a women and you only have one or two risk factors, that you're "safe." It's important for women to take a more active role in their heart health, since many healthcare providers tend to overlook risk factors for heart disease in women.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women: An Overview

When it comes to women and heart disease, it is critical to know your risk factors. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse.

Specific Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women

There are two types of risk factors for heart disease: risk factors you can control and those which you have no control over.
Heart disease risk factors for both women and men that can be controlled include:
Some risk factors (such as age and a family history of early heart disease) can't be changed. For women, age becomes a risk factor at 55. After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease, in part, because their body's production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause. Another reason for the increasing risk of heart disease is that middle age is a time when women tend to develop additional risk factors for heart disease.
A family history of early heart disease is another risk factor that can't be changed. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mother or sister had one before age 65, you are more likely to get heart disease yourself.
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Heart Disease in Women

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