Heart Disease

Heart Disease consists of chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath and is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.


How does heart disease affect women?

According to the CDC, despite an increase in awareness over the past decades, only about half (56%) of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.

Learn more facts about women and heart disease:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 299,578 women in 2017—or about 1 in every 5 female deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among American Indian and Alaska Native women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer as a cause of death.
  • About 1 in 16 women age 20 and older (6.2%) have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease:
    • About 1 in 16 women. White women (6.1%), Black women (6.5%), and Hispanic women (6%)
    • About 1 in 30 Asian women (3.2%)

Who is at a higher risk?

High blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of all people in the United States (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors.  
Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Drinking too much alcohol

This map shows death rates from heart disease in women in the United States. The darker red indicates a higher death rate.