Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
Womens Heart Health

Importance of Heart Health in Women

Why is a woman’s heart health important?

Heart disease can strike at any time to women of any age. It’s important for women to understand and be aware of the risks and symptoms of heart disease and cardiovascular conditions. Learn how to love your heart and keep it healthy!

Who’s at risk?

Heart disease and cardiovascular diseases can affect both men and women. However, the symptoms and risks of heart disease in women and men may vary. For women, the risk factors include diabetes, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and family history of premature heart disease.

Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes or any pregnancy-related high blood pressure or preeclampsia, have a higher long-term risk of heart disease. Speak to your Women’s Wellness Provider about heart-healthy practices during pregnancy.

Women-specific risks:
  • Early first period (before age 11)

  • Early menopause (before age 40)

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)

  • Preterm delivery

  • Delivery of a low birth weight or high birth weight infant

  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy

Symptoms of heart disease

For some, heart disease is known as a silent disease. Meaning the diagnosis may not come until a stroke has occurred. It’s important to know symptoms of a cardiovascular condition or heart disease.

Symptoms for men and women can be different and the same.

General Symptoms Women-Specific Symptoms
  • Heavy ache in shoulders or back between shoulder blades
  • Sharp pain in your upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Unusual or unexplained tiredness
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Tightness or pressure in center of the chest
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Heartburn (indigestion)
  • Pain in the jaw, neck or chest
  • Squeezing on the upper back
Preventative Measures

Sleep better – Research suggests lack of sleep can increase blood pressure and make it harder to lose unwanted weight. The total time recommended for sleep is 6-8 hours.

Recognize and confront stress – Chronic stress can lead to higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, inactivity and overeating. Be sure to seek support from friends and family or a counselor.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle – Avoid smoking. Be sure to consume more whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Maintaining a healthy weight could help lower the risk of heart disease. Be sure to exercise regularly. Be sure to talk to your Blue Primary Care Provider if you need help managing pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol.

Know your numbers – Ask your Blue Primary Care Provider to check your blood pressure, total cholesterol levels and blood sugar.


U.S Food and Drug Administration

American Heart Association

Health Information
Health & Wellness Articles
Health & Wellness Programs
Health & Wellness Resources