(WHTM) — Heart disease is the number one killer of women and health experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women who are stressed and have delayed healthcare visits.
Dr. Holly Andersen, a cardiologist and Director of Education and Outreach for The Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at The New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center, says over time, the number of women with heart disease and dying of the disease is not improving.
“Unfortunately, death rates due to heart disease are increasing in this country and increasing the fastest among young women. And it’s not even on their radar screen,” Dr. Andersen said. “The number one health risk is their heart. Twelve times as many women die of heart disease than breast cancer. Every woman knows they’re at risk for breast cancer. And more women die of heart disease at every age than breast cancer.”
Dr. Andersen said in addition to stress and missed screenings, the number of women with risk factors for heart disease is all increasing, like the number of people with hypertension, diabetes or obesity. And that’s contributing to a rise in cases.
We’ve also learned people who’ve had COVID are more at risk for heart disease because the virus can cause inflammation of the heart and accelerate heart disease.
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In addition to getting screened, Dr. Andersen says it’s important t know the signs of the heart attack. She says 40% of women do not experience chest pain.
Click here for a list of signs and symptoms and whether you should get screened.