“At age 62, I had a blocked coronary artery. I knew I had risk factors for heart disease but I never thought it would happen to me. Since my heart attack, I have lost weight and exercise regularly. Today, I am proud to wear a red dress and stand beside my colleagues who were a vital part of the team that helped get me back on my feet. Red, the color we associate with our hearts, is also an empowering color for women, and serves as a reminder of the importance of being 'heart healthy'.” — Fran Lowrey, R.N.
The idea that women are less susceptible to heart disease than men is widespread—and far from the truth.
In fact, more females succumb to heart problems each year than their male counterparts, accounting for one out of every three deaths among women nationwide.
Despite these overwhelming statistics, only 57 percent of American women know that heart disease is the number one cause of death among members of their own sex. A majority also believe that the symptoms of a heart attack are the same for men as for women—a misconception that can lead to trouble. “Women often don’t experience the crushing chest pain that many men suffer,” says Michael Gault, M.D., a Saddleback Memorial cardiologist. “Instead, their symptoms are often more subtle—dizziness, exhaustion, sweating, and heartburn, twinges of pain below the ribs or pressure in an unrelated area such as the back.”
Learn about Women's Heart Attack Warning Signs
Saddleback Memorial offers a variety of health education and monitored exercise programs to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. To increase women’s awareness of heart disease, the hospital will also hold special events in February.