The Heart Truth (Heart Health)

When you hear the term "heart disease," what is your first reaction? Like many women, you may think, "That's a man's disease" or "Not my problem." But here is the truth: Heart disease is the top killer of women in the United States. Most women don't know this. But it is vital that you know it — and know what it means for you.

Some surprising facts:

One in two women in the United States dies of heart disease or stroke, while one in 30 dies of breast cancer.

Thirty-eight percent of women will die within one year after having a heart attack.

Within six years of having a heart attack, about 46 percent of women become disabled with heart failure. Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.

Fortunately, you can do something about heart disease. For women in midlife, taking action is particularly important. Once a woman reaches menopause, her risks of heart disease and heart attack jump dramatically. One in eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease, and this increases to one in three women over 65.

You still may be thinking, "But this isn't about me. I don't have heart disease." But you may have conditions or habits that can lead to heart disease, such as being overweight, smoking cigarettes, or not getting enough physical activity. You may already know about these and other "risk factors" for heart disease. You may know which ones you have. What you may not know, though, is that if you have even one risk factor, you are much more likely to develop heart disease, with its many serious consequences. A damaged heart can damage your life. It can interfere with enjoyable activities and even your ability to do simple things, such as taking a walk or climbing steps.

You have tremendous power to prevent heart disease — and you can start today. Talk with your physician to get more answers. Start taking action today to protect your heart.

B-man