Office on Women's Health

Cardiovascular Disease

  What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to a variety of different conditions, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, affecting the heart and blood vessel systems.

Why is CVD an issue for women?
Although men experience more heart attacks and strokes than women, women are more likely to die from CVD than men. CVD is the number one killer of all women in both the United States and New Jersey.

  • Heart disease and stroke account for 31.9 of all female deaths in New Jersey.*

  • On average, about 31 women die from heart disease and stroke in New Jersey each day.

  • Heart disease alone is the leading cause of death in New Jersey, accounting for 9,444 females deaths in 2009.

  • Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death for females in New Jersey, accounting for, 1,909 female deaths in 2009.

  • Women’s risk of CVD and heart disease increases with age as estrogen levels decrease during and after menopause.

  • African American and Mexican-American women have more risk factors for CVD than white women.

  • African American women have a higher death rate from CVD than white women.

  • Women experience different symptoms than men for heart attack:
    • Chest pain or discomfort
    • Unusual upper body discomfort
    • Shortness of breath,
    • Breaking out in a cold sweat
    • Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
    • Nausea or feeling sick to your stomach,
    • Stomach pain,
    • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
    • If yes, call 9-1-1!
  • For stroke, we all have to act FAST.  Look for these signs:
    • F – Is the Face drooping to one side?
    • A – Can the individual keep their Arms up?
    • S – Is their Speech impaired?
    • T – Time - If yes, call 9-1-1!  Brain cells are dying!

What is the OWH doing about CVD?
To raise awareness and educate the general public as well as professionals about heart disease in women, the OWH partners with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association  as well as the NJDOH Heart and Stroke Prevention Program on their capacity building efforts to reduce CVD in New Jersey. The OWH participates in the AHA/ASA initiatives such as "Go Red for Women" and "Power to End Stroke" campaigns and events. 

The OWH also partners with the Health and Human Services' Office on Women’s Health women’s heart campaign entitled "Make the Call: Don’t Miss A Beat", as well as their other health driven campaigns.

*Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Mortality date based on WISQARS Leading Cause of Death Reports, 2009;state maps from the Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention; risk factor data from BRFSS, 2010.

Department of Health

P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
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Last Modified: Monday, 28-Jul-14 09:42:22