Heart health: 4 facts diabetic women need to know

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women across the U.S., but those with diabetes face an even higher risk. Here are four important facts diabetic women need to remember about their heart health.

1.    A greater risk of fatal coronary artery disease 

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease in the nation. It occurs when the blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart get blocked with fatty deposits. Diabetic women have three times more risk of dying from coronary disease than women without it.

2.    Earlier heart attacks, higher death rates

Women with diabetes are more likely to have a heart attack earlier than their male counterparts – and have one that is fatal. Contributing factors include the differences in treatment and the fact that women tend to have a higher proportion of body fat than men when they are first diagnosed with diabetes.

3.    A higher risk of heart failure

Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped working. It means your heart isn't pumping as well as it should. Women with diabetes have a 22 percent higher risk of heart failure compared to men. Women are more likely to be older at the time of their first heart attack, in addition to having a variety of complications and more risk factors that may put them at a greater risk for heart failure.

4.    Hesitancy hurts

Despite heart disease being the leading cause of death in American women, some still perceive it as a “man’s disease.” Studies have uncovered a gender gap in treatment and show women receive fewer of the recommended medications for post-heart attack care.
Your health is in your hands. If you are a woman with diabetes, high blood pressure, or abnormal cholesterol levels, don’t wait until it’s too late. SIU Medicine’s cardio care team can work with you and your loved ones to find a heart-healthy plan that works for your lifestyle and needs.

Contact us at 217-545-8000 to schedule an initial consultation and connect with an experienced cardiologist near you.

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