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Ask a roomful of women what their biggest health threat is, and most of them will tell you it's breast cancer. Though a very serious disease, breast cancer is not the right answer.
It's heart disease. Each year, nearly twice as many women die from cardiovascular disease as the next 16 causes—including breast cancer—combined.
One of the biggest problems with our misconception about women's risk for heart disease is that women are slower to recognize heart attack symptoms and seek appropriate care. On average, women reach the emergency room 30 to 60 minutes later than men do after feeling symptoms, losing critical time necessary to avoid serious consequences.
Sanford Health has a program that can help. Women's HeartAdvantage is an evidence-based education program designed to increase awareness of heart disease and to help you recognize the risk factors and warning signs for heart disease.
Most importantly, we want all women to know that if you experience symptoms, you should seek medical treatment within one hour of symptom onset, because this is when drugs and other treatments will be most effective to minimize damage to your heart. If you think you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.