Women’s Heart Disease and Stroke Risk Factor Statistics

January 31, 2008 11:43:55 AM PST
Only 22 percent of women perceive that heart disease is the greatest health threat facing women today, even though it’s the No.1 killer of women.57% of women 25+ recognize heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. (That is up from 46% in 2003 (34% in 2000 and 30% in 1997).

Unfortunately, as the national news releases focuses on, only 31% of African-American and 22% of Hispanic women recognize heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
· High blood pressure is a more prevalent cause of death in women than men.
· For Americans age 20 and older:
           ·31.9 percent of non-Hispanic white females have high blood pressure, compared with 32.5 percent of males.
           ·46.6 percent of non-Hispanic black females have high blood pressure, compared with 42.6 percent of males.
           ·31.4 percent of Mexican-American females have high blood pressure, compared with 28.7 percent of males.
· High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. More men than women have high blood pressure until age 45. From age 45 to 54, the percentage of women with high blood pressure becomes slightly higher than males.
· High blood pressure is two to three times more common in women taking oral contraceptives, especially those who are older and obese, than in women not taking them.

SMOKING
· 18.5 percent of American women age 18 and older are smokers, putting them at increased risk for a heart attack or stroke.
· For Americans age 18 and older:
           ·20.4 percent of non-Hispanic white females smoke, compared with 24.1 percent of males.
           ·17.2 percent of non-Hispanic black females smoke, compared with 23.9 percent of males.
           ·10.9 percent of Hispanic females smoke, compared with 18.9 percent of males.

CHOLESTEROL
· The risk of heart attack in both men and women is much higher when they have lower HDL cholesterol levels (below 40 mg/dL) and higher total cholesterol levels (above 240 mg/dL) than when they have one of these two risk factors.
· For Americans age 20 and older:
           ·49.7 percent of non-Hispanic white females have total blood cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher, compared with 47.9 percent of males.
           · 42.1 percent of non-Hispanic black females have total blood cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher, compared with 44.8 percent of males.
           ·50 percent of Mexican-American females have total blood cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher, compared with 49.9 percent of males.

PHYSICAL INACTIVITY
· Physical inactivity is more common among women than men, among blacks and Hispanics than whites, among older than younger adults and among the less affluent than the more affluent.
· A study of over 72,000 female nurses indicates that moderate-intensity physical activity such as walking is associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of stroke when compared with physical activity done at an average or casual pace.
· For Americans age 18 and older:
           ·21.6 percent of non-Hispanic white females are physically inactive, compared with 18.4 percent of males.
           ·33.9 percent of non-Hispanic black females are physically inactive, compared with 27.0 percent of males.
           ·39.6 percent of Hispanic females are physically inactive, compared with 32.5 percent of males.

OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY
· For Americans age 20 and older:
           ·57.6 percent of non-Hispanic white females are overweight or obese, compared with 71 percent of males.
           ·79.6 percent of non-Hispanic black females are overweight or obese, compared with 67 percent of males.
           ·73 percent of Mexican-American females are overweight or obese, compared with 74.6 percent of males.
· 38.9 percent of Hispanics or Latinos age 18 and older are overweight and 24.7 are obese.

DIABETES
· At least 65 percent of people with diabetes will die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.
· Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two to four times higher than those for adults without diabetes. The risk for stroke is two to four times higher as well. The age-adjusted prevalence of major cardiovascular disease for women with diabetes is twice that for women without diabetes. The age-adjusted major cardiovascular disease hospital discharge rate for women with diabetes is almost four times the rate for women without diabetes.
· For Americans age 20 and older:
           ·5.6 percent of non-Hispanic white females have physician-diagnosed diabetes, compared with 6.7 percent of males.
           ·13.2 percent of non-Hispanic black females have physician-diagnosed diabetes, compared with 10.7 percent of males.
           ·10.9 percent of Mexican-American females have physician-diagnosed diabetes, compared with 11 percent of males.
Sources: American Heart Association Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2007 Update
American Heart Association Biostatistical Fact Sheet, “Women and Cardiovascular Disease”
Footnote: Data is for non-Hispanic white and black males and females.


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