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Women’s Heart Health: Revealing the Truth Behind the Myths

November 20, 2022 4:34 am
REAN Foundation

Heart disease is the number one reason behind the deaths of many women in our country. Adding fuel to the fire are the myths and rumors about heart health and cardiac diseases.

It is no surprise that in a day and age when there’s so much awareness about heart disease, many women remain misinformed about the issue.

“Heart disease occurs only in men.”

“Women are more prone to breast cancer than heart diseases.”

“I am young, so there’s no way I have the risk of heart disease.”

So many assumptions and so many denials. The bitter truth is that relying on this false information may cost you your life. It is better late than never to dispel the most common myths about heart diseases and reveal the facts that women need to know.

Are Women More Prone to Heart Diseases?

Before we find the answer to this question, let’s learn about the heart. As you know, your heart is approximately the size of your closed fist. This organ works non-stop from the time of conception till death, sincerely pumping blood through the major blood vessels of your circulatory system.

Your heart must remain healthy in order to function correctly. Vital parameters like blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar ought to stay within acceptable limits. Although these parameters are common to men and women, heart diseases have long been misclassified as a “man’s disease,” which is far from the truth.

Heart experts warn that heart disease in women is more likely because their heart is physically different from men’s.

  • Women have smaller hearts and smaller blood vessels than men.
  • The plaque that builds up in their vessels looks and behaves differently than the blockages that occur in men.
  • Childbirth and chest radiation for breast cancer increases their risk of heart disease.

So, yes, women are more prone to heart diseases than men. Therefore, all women must know and understand the risk factors that increase their chances of developing heart-related ailments.

It’s time to change the narrative and accept that heart disease does not distinguish between men, women, and children. Ultimately, your health is non-negotiable, and you cannot compromise it by believing silly myths. Let's clear the air so we can work together to stop this killer once and for all.

So, first things first. Let’s dispel five common myths about women’s heart health and equip you with facts that help protect women’s long-term health.

Also Read: Age-Related Vision Disorders & Preventive Eye Care for Seniors

5 Myths About Women's Heart Health: What’s True & What’s Not

Myth 1: Only chest pain indicates a heart attack.


Not all heart attacks are dramatically painful. Many indications can, in fact, be subtle and silent. Women, in particular, may not always experience severe chest pain during heart attacks. Instead, the pain is more like intense pressure or tightness in the chest, or the attack does not cause any pain. Women often ignore these symptoms and are careless about seeking medical help.

Some of the main symptoms women may experience during heart attacks are listed below:

  • Dizziness
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Pain in the arms or shoulders
  • Uneasiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Intense sweating
  • Mild or intense discomfort in the jaws, shoulder, upper back, and upper abdomen.

In contrast to the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks, these symptoms may be vague and less noticeable. When you feel that something’s wrong with your body, you must consult a doctor to prevent an imminent attack or even death.

Myth 2: Heart diseases occur only in men.


Not at all. Did you know that heart diseases strike more women than men and are far deadlier than all cancers combined? According to statistics, one out of every 31 American women dies of breast cancer, while one out of three Americans dies of heart disease. This roughly translates to one death every minute.

Another grim fact is that while men's death rates are decreasing, women's rates are dramatically increasing. 4. 5 % of the people (a little over 10 million), according to the findings of the survey by the American Heart Association said they would not call 911 if they experienced symptoms of an attack, but rather choose some other option.
Such is the sheer lack of awareness and callousness toward the risks involved with heart diseases, which include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and early menopause
  • Breast cancer patients undergoing chemo or radiation therapy
  • Women who develop pre-eclampsia during pregnancy

Myth 3: Breast cancer is more dangerous than heart disease among women.


Both diseases are deadly, so choosing between them is pointless. That said, it is true that breast cancer affects at least 4 million American women and kills nearly 42,000 of them every year. However, the numbers for heart diseases are significantly higher, with approximately 50 million women suffering from some form of heart disease or another and over 300,000 losing their lives yearly.

Besides, the awareness about breast cancer is much higher than that of heart disease, thanks to the phenomenal efforts taken by various medical institutions across the globe in educating women about cancer screening and preventive measures. By contrast, the sheer lack of awareness significantly contributes to higher prevalence of heart disease in women.

Myth 4: I already have heart disease and can't do anything about it.


Absolutely wrong. You can do EVERYTHING to mitigate the risk factors and enhance your chances of living a healthier life. A person with an existing heart condition should have two primary goals:

  1. To prevent the condition from worsening
  2. To preserve the health of the already affected heart

To make both goals possible, you can:

  • Quit smoking and drinking
  • Adopt an active lifestyle under your doctor’s guidance
  • Manage vitals like blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Watch your diet to keep blood cholesterol and body weight under control

There are millions of people worldwide leading a healthy and active lifestyle, albeit with existing heart conditions. By reducing your modifiable risk factors, you can lower your risk of heart disease, similar to someone without a family history of heart disease.

Myth 5: Heart disease is only for older people. I don’t have to worry because I’m young.


A woman of ANY age can suffer from heart disease. For example, being born with a congenital heart ailment could be a lifelong risk factor even if you lead a healthy and active lifestyle. And even if old age is a risk factor in itself, young people are equally vulnerable to heart disease for many reasons, such as:

  • Consumption of contraceptive pills and heavy smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle and binging on unhealthy foods
  • High cholesterol, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes
  • Early menopause, preterm delivery, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes
  • Specific treatments for breast cancer
  • Genetic makeup and family history of heart diseases

The critical factor is to stay aware of the risks and maintain a heart-friendly lifestyle at any age. Staying alert to physical changes and unusual symptoms is also a must. If something doesn’t feel right, never hesitate to approach your doctor.

Furthermore, women with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Cardiomyopathy should undergo genetic testing to determine their risk. In short, prevention and awareness are key to keeping your heart healthy and happy.

REAN Foundation: Providing Better Solutions for Women’s Heart Care

The REAN Foundations' prime mission is to provide healthcare solutions in new and innovative ways to remote populations. REAN HealthGuru is a mobile app that helps you live a healthy lifestyle and manage your heart health independently. Our healthcare companion platform is the only solution you need to track your vitals, stay motivated, and manage your illnesses.

Download the REAN HealthGuru app today and proactively manage your heart health. Stay hearty and healthy with REAN HealthGuru!

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REAN Foundation

REAN Foundation is committed to create technology solutions to help you take ownership, make smarter choices and be empowered to manage your health independently.

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