Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the top killer in women and is largely preventable. The call for women to reduce their risk comes from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) today on International Women’s Day.
Dr. Susanna Price, ESC spokesperson and consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, UK, said:
“CVD is still largely considered a man’s problem with breast cancer commonly perceived as the greater issue for women. However, CVD is the top killer of women in Europe, resulting in 51% of deaths compared to 3% caused by breast cancer.” (1)
She added: “Women’s risk of heart disease tends to be underestimated by both the public and the medical profession because of the perception that estrogen protects them. In reality this just delays the onset of CVD by 10 years. (2) The result is that women’s risk factors are left untreated, leaving them more vulnerable to heart attack, heart failure and sudden cardiac death when the protection fades after menopause.”
Despite these misconceptions, the facts are that:
-CVD is the main cause of death in women in all countries of Europe (3)
-CVD causes 51% of deaths in women and 42% of deaths in men in Europe (1)
-CVD kills 51% of women in Europe and breast cancer causes 3% of deaths (1)
-The risks of smoking are higher in women because women metabolize nicotine faster, especially those taking oral contraceptives (2)
-Type 2 diabetes doubles CVD risk in men but more than triples the risk in women (4)
-Women are more likely to be severely disabled after a stroke than men (5).
Source: European Society of Cardiology