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Women’s Heart Program

Learn how heart disease affects women.

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Transforming women’s heart care.

We at St. Luke’s understand the unique health challenges women face when it comes to heart disease. As the leading cause of death among women, heart disease requires a tailored care plan addressing the unique symptoms and risks for women. Our expert team of cardiologists will develop a comprehensive treatment plan, giving you the care you deserve.

Heart disease in women

The most common type of heart disease in women involves the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that provide the heart with blood. This risk increases with age, yet heart disease is a concern for women of all ages. Here are the key heart disease statistics every woman should know:

  • Heart disease is the top cause of death for women, more than all cancer-related deaths combined.
  • Every year, heart disease is responsible for one-third of all female deaths.
  • Every minute, heart disease claims the life of a woman.
  • Only 20% of American women view heart disease as their greatest health risk.

Risk factors

Our approach to women's heart health is holistic, focusing on both universal and female-specific risk factors. Heart disease has been the leading cause of death for women since 1984, particularly affecting those between 45 and 64 years of age. Risk factors for heart disease in women include:

  • Auto-immune disorders (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)
  • Diabetes
  • Early menopause (before age 45)
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines with aura
  • Past pregnancy complications
  • Preeclampsia and eclampsia
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking


Women’s heart attack symptoms may not always be obvious, with only 60% of women reporting the typical chest pain. This makes it vital for you to recognize the range of other signs that could indicate a heart attack. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Chest pressure
  • Cold sweats, squeezing or discomfort
  • Indigestion, nausea or vomiting
  • Light-headedness
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Pain in the arms, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
Woman outdoors holding chest

Know this: heart attacks in women may NOT look like what you’d expect.

Heart attacks in women can be difficult to detect and symptoms are often mistaken for less serious issues. Learn the signs you shouldn't ignore and why a quick response could save your life.

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90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

The American Heart Association reports that 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented. Educating yourself and making small lifestyle changes can have big impacts on your health.

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A warning for women with heart disease.

If you’re a woman with heart disease, get helpful information from our cardiologists. Knowing how blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI affect your heart will help you stay healthy.

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Understanding heart disease and its impact on your health can be daunting, but there are many ways to manage its symptoms and enhance your well-being. Tailored to your needs, these treatments are designed to support you on your journey to a healthier heart.

  • Healthy lifestyle choices
  • Medication, such as beta blockers or diuretics, to prevent clots from forming and to prevent stroke
  • Surgeries to improve symptoms of heart failure may include:
    • Heart valve repair or replacement
    • Pacemaker insertion
    • Correction of congenital heart defects
    • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • For advanced heart failure, patients may be given the option for an implantable ventricular assist device (VAD)

Along with a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures to determine if angina is related to a serious heart condition may include:

  • A chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE or stress echo)
  • Coronary angiogram and cardiac catheterization
  • Angioplasty or stenting, may be performed immediately to clear the arteries

Choose one of the nation’s top heart hospitals.

We have cardiologists specializing in women's heart health, including expert doctors and healthcare professionals, to provide you with the best care possible. Whether you have heart disease or seek ways to prevent it, our team is here for you. It's this commitment to excellence that makes us one of the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals.

Doctor listening to patient's heart
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Your recovery starts here.

If you’re experiencing heart concerns, let us help. Connect with a St. Luke’s cardiac specialist and start your path to recovery.