Closeup of woman holding her hands to her heart

Women's Heart Health

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, leading to 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every 80 seconds. But there’s hope. The American Heart Association estimates that “80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.” 

Women have unique cardiovascular risk and symptoms, yet many do not understand what those are. 

Even healthy women are more susceptible than men to conditions like spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and microvascular disease. Several factors can exacerbate a woman’s cardiovascular risk, including: 

  • Diabetes
  • Poorly-managed stress 
  • Genetic history
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Kidney disease
  • Smoking
  • Onset of menopause




There are differences in the way that men and women experience cardiac events. When you think of a heart attack, symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath probably come to mind. But that’s not always the case for women. In fact, many women don’t even realize when they are having a cardiac event. 

Similar to men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain. But not all women experience this. Women are more likely than man to have other, less obvious symptoms, including: 

  • Flu like symptoms and nausea 
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath 
The Women’s Heart Health program at CMC’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute provides a unique service specifically for women, with providers who are focused on women’s unique cardiovascular health needs. Their specialities include:
  • Cardio-Oncology
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Microvascular disease
  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy (one-year post partum and no longer breastfeeding)
  • Primary ​prevention
  • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) 
Meet our

Women's Heart Health Team

CMC’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute Women’s Heart Health program cares for women who already have or are at high-risk for disease. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, our team will work with you on the best treatment options for you.  We’ll also work with you on prevention, education and lifestyle changes to improve your heart—and overall—health. 

Working to prevent SCAD's sneak-attack on women

Heart Healthy

Like many other women, Paula Cavallo didn’t realize she was having a heart attack.

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Take heart

Learn the signs

Heart disease kills one woman every 80 seconds. 

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