Heart and Vascular Institute – Women and Heart Disease

Penn State Health Heart and Vascular Institute is proud to partner with the American Heart Association Capital Region as the Go Red for Women sponsor!

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Learn more about the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women.

The facts are startling—heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Annually, one in three deaths is caused by some form of heart disease.

Fit, Trim and Slim Weight Management Program

For more information on managing a healthy lifestyle, check out Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute’s Fit Trim and Slim program.


Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of heart disease that women experience can be more subtle than what men experience and may not be recognized as dangerous warning signs.

Symptoms that women should be aware of include:

  • Pain the neck, back, jaw or arm,
  • Shortness of breath or fatigue,
  • Nausea or lightheadedness,
  • Discomfort in the center of the chest and
  • Sweating profusely.

If you experience these symptoms, talk with your health care provider and seek treatment.

Read more about women and heart disease from Joy Cotton, MD.

Additional resources


Risk factors

It is important for women, and men alike, to understand their personal risk for developing heart disease. Have regular conversations with your physician about your risk factors. 
Risk factors for developing heart disease include:

Check your risk factors with this risk calculator.

Opportunities to modify risk factors include adding physical activity to your daily routine, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet, filled with lean protein, fruits, vegetables and fiber and watching the amount of added sodium, fat and cholesterol in your diet.

Healthy cooking segment