Cardiovascular Disease Is The #1 Killer of Women

Every minute in the United States someone’s wife, mother or daughter dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease.

  • Over 300,000 women die every year from heart disease, which continues to be the largest killer in the United States.
  • Deaths from heart disease are greater than deaths from all cancers combined.
  • Half of all African-American women and 34% of Caucasian women have cardiovascular disease.

What Can You Do To Modify Your Risk Factors?


Quit Smoking
  • 28% of women die prematurely due to the use of tobacco.
  • The effects of tobacco use are reversible if you quit indefinitely.
  • The St.Vincent Tobacco Management Center offers a nurse/pharmacist- driven smoking cessation program to the community that provides the resources, group support and individualized counseling you need to quit smoking. The counselors at the Center have received training by the Mayo Clinic and the team understands the science behind smoking and can apply the behavioral health counseling and medication you need to quit. For more information, call the Tobacco Management Center at 317.338.2273.


Monitor Your Blood Pressure
  • A normal blood pressure is 130/80 or less (if your blood pressure is higher you need to control it).
  • Blood pressure control starts with diet, weight control, exercise and can include medications.


Lower Your Blood Cholesterol
  • Women should not only know their total cholesterol, but also their HDL and LDL levels.
  • A 10 point increase in HDL is associated with a 50% reduction in your risk for heart disease.
  • Desirable Lipid Levels:
    – Total Cholesterol under 200 mg/dl
    – LDL under 100 mg/dl
    – HDL over 50 mg/dl
    – Triglycerides under 150 mg/dl


Monitor Your Blood Sugar
  • Women are at increased risk for developing diabetes if they have a family member with diabetes, if they are overweight or if they have delivered a large baby.
  • Fasting blood sugar levels
    – Normal: under 100 mg/dl
    – Pre-diabetes: between 111 and 125 mg/dl
    – Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or greater


  • The Surgeon General’s recommendation for physical activity is to add 30 minutes of moderately intense activity each day on top of your daily activities. Studies recommend that walking 10,000 steps a day is helpful way for Americans to reach their exercise goals.


Lose Weight
  • Excess weight increases the risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, high triglycerides and lowers HDL.
  • A gain of just 11 – 18 pounds after the age of 18 has been shown to increase the risk for heart attack by 25% and a gain of 19 – 25 pounds increases the risk for heart attack by 60%.
  • Even a 10% weight loss dramatically reduces cardiac risk.
  • Refer to the following BMI chart to track your progress toward a healthy weight:
BMI Indication of Risk
Under 20 May indicate malnutrition
20-25 Healthy weight range for most people
26-30 Increased risks for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and some cancers.
Over 31 At risk for above disease