Heart Disease in Women vs. Men

Posted by Heart Hugger on Jun 6, 2022 10:24:33 AM

doctor holding out a red heart

Heart health is an important topic for everyone. After all, heart health plays a huge role in the overall function and comfort of the human body. Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the CDC, it's especially important for people of all ages to be informed about heart health and how to protect this vital organ.

Here's what you need to know about heart disease and how it impacts men vs. women.

What is Heart Disease?

According to the CDC, heart disease is actually an umbrella term referring to different heart conditions. In the U.S., the most common heart condition is coronary artery disease, which decreases blood flow to the heart and can cause a heart attack.

Here are a few more things to know about heart disease:

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for heart disease. According to the CDC, main risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure.

  • High cholesterol.

  • Smoking.

  • Obesity.

  • Diabetes.

  • Lack of exercise.

  • Unhealthy diet.

According to the University of Ottawa, some cardiac disease risk factors are also inherited, which means your family can "pass down" heart disease through genes.


Symptoms of heart disease or a heart event can be difficult to spot. According to the CDC, these symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain.

  • Neck pain.

  • Indigestion.

  • Dizziness.

  • Nausea.

  • Heart palpitations.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Swelling of the feet and legs.


If caught early, some heart health problems can be avoided by changing your lifestyle. This includes increasing your physical activity, eating healthier, and avoiding risky activities like smoking.

However, heart disease does often lead to heart surgery. It's important to talk to your doctor throughout the process so you know what to expect, how long it will take to heal, what you can and can't do after surgery, and whether a solution like the Heart Hugger sternum support vest can help you stay comfortable while you're recovering.

Why Heart Disease is Different for Men and Women

It's important to understand the details when it comes to heart health. That's why everyone should understand their own body's needs--and those needs don't look the same for men and women. Here are a few examples of how and why heart disease differs:

Different Biology

According to Crisp Regional Hospital, women have smaller hearts and blood vessels. That means risk factors impact women differently and that heart disease can progress in different ways.

Furthermore, according to John Hopkins Medicine, cholesterol builds up differently in women than in men--and because cholesterol has a big role to play in heart disease, it's important to understand how and why this happens. For the most part, it comes down to hormones; however, different body structures also impact where cholesterol gathers and how it acts.

Different Symptoms

As Crisp Regional Hospital explains, men tend to experience more traditional or expected symptoms of heart problems, like chest pain or pressure. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to have conditions that mimic heart disease but are caused by something else--and, to complicate the diagnostic process, women also have less traditional symptoms like neck pain or vomiting.

Different Risk Factors

Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that yet another difference between cardiac disease in men and women is the type of associated risk factors. Although many risks--like high cholesterol and smoking--are shared between both sexes, some variables (including anxiety, depression, and autoimmune disorders) are more common in women. Menopause can play a role in heart disease, too.

Different Treatment

Because men and women can have different symptoms--and, in some cases, women might be experiencing a separate condition entirely--it's necessary to approach the diagnostic and treatment processes in different ways. Doctors must take a variety of variables into account, from family histories to mental health to unique risk factors, to accurately identify potential or current heart health problems.

In conclusion, heart disease is a serious issue for both men and women in America. Because symptoms, risk factors, and even treatment can differ between sexes, it's important for everyone to understand their own body's needs and brush up on heart health facts to protect this vital organ.

To learn more about heart health or find out how a support device like Heart Hugger can help both men and women after heart surgery, contact us today.

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Written by Heart Hugger

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