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Heart Disease


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and the number-one killer of women over 25. It kills nearly twice as many women in the U.S. as all types of cancer.

Is this you?

The factors listed below have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

  • You are a woman older than 55 years old.
  • You are African-American.
  • You have a close blood relative who had a heart attack.
  • You smoke, or you live or work with people who smoke.
  • Your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher.
  • You don’t know your cholesterol levels.
  • Your blood pressure is consistently greater than 120/80.
  • You have not had your blood pressure checked within the past two years.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You do not exercise regularly (30 minutes most days of the week).
  • You are overweight.
  • You drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day.

Women’s symptoms of heart disease are often different and less obvious than men’s — including abdominal discomfort and breathing changes. Heart disease in women tends to be under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed. That’s why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. If you catch heart disease early, you can help slow its progress.

The Heart of a Woman (PDF)

Go Red

UPMC recognizes the value of expanding women’s awareness about heart health and heart disease risk factors. That’s why we support the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women campaign.