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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2010 Jul;20(6):386-93. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.02.001. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

Cardiovascular diseases in American women.

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  • 1Center for American Indian Health Research, College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, P. O. Box 26901, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, USA.



Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the major public health issues in women among diverse populations across the world. This article reports current information about the occurrence and risk factors of atherosclerotic CVD in American women.


The most recent scientific publications from the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and elsewhere were reviewed with regard to CVD in the US population. We focussed on the atherosclerotic CVD in women, which includes coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. Prevalence, incidence and mortality of these diseases in women were described. The statistics about CVD on women were compared to men's. Special physiological changes in women and their relationships to CVD were discussed. The major modifiable risk factors were discussed.


About 35% women in the United States have some form of CVD and for men, this number is 37.6%. The CVD incidence for women was close to that of men 10 years younger. The gap narrows with advancing age. Since 1984, the number of CVD deaths for women has exceeded those for men. Women represent 52.6% of CVD deaths, and CVD is the leading cause of death in US women. In both men and women risk factors such as hypertension, high blood cholesterol level, smoking, lack of physical activity and obesity increase the probability of developing CVD. Menopause, oral contraceptive use and bilateral oophorectomy in premenopausal women also affect the risk of CVD in women.

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