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Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. Heart disease is a group of diseases of the heart and the blood vessel system in the heart. Coronary artery disease, the most common type, affects the blood vessels of the heart. It can cause angina (an-JEYE-nuh) or a heart attack. Angina is a pain in the chest that happens when the heart does not get enough blood. It may feel like a pressing or squeezing pain, often in the chest, but sometimes in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Having angina means you're more likely to have a heart attack. A heart attack happens when a clot mostly or completely blocks blood flow to the heart muscle.
Signs of a heart attack:
Women can also have less common symptoms, including:
If you think you are having a heart attack, you must act quickly to prevent disability or death. Wait no more than a few minutes — five at most — before calling 911.
Like all women, Latinas are at risk of heart disease. Together with stroke, heart disease accounts for a third of all deaths among Latinas. Latinas have high rates of diabetes, overweight, and obesity, which are factors that increase heart disease risk. What's more, compared to non-Hispanic white and black women, Latinas are less likely to be physically active, which also raises heart disease risk.
You have the power to fight heart disease! Read on for some tips to keep your heart healthy.
Content last updated: May 18, 2010.