STATUS > HEALTH INDICATORS
In 2002, heart disease was the leading cause of death for
women. Heart disease describes any disorder that prevents the heart
from functioning normally. The most common cause of heart disease
is coronary heart disease, in which the arteries of the heart slowly
narrow, reducing blood flow. Risk factors include obesity, lack
of physical activity, smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, and
Overall, in 2003, men had a higher rate of heart disease than women.
However, women under 45 years of age had a higher rate than men
(43.9 per 1,000 women compared to 31.6 per 1,000 men). Rates of
heart disease increase substantially with age and are highest among
those 75 years and older. This demonstrates the chronic nature of
Rates of heart disease among women differ by race and ethnicity.
The highest rates were reported among non-Hispanic White women (120.3
per 1,000), followed by non-Hispanic Black women (88.6 per 1,000).
Asian women had the lowest rate (42.1 per 1,000). Death rates from
heart disease among Black women exceed those of White women.