Heart disease in women: a faster killer than breast cancer?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, women are seven times more likely to die of a heart disease than breast cancer. Even though heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, it is preventable. Unfortunately, a lot of women do not perceive heart disease as a greater cause of death as opposed to breast cancer.

According to World Heart Federation in 2017, heart disease is the number one killer of women globally, with over two million premature deaths each year. Heart attacks claim the lives of 3.3 million women every year, with another 3.2 million women dying from stroke and the remaining 2.1 million women succumbing to other Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD). Regardless of these statistics, the perceived severity of breast cancer seems to be higher than CVDs amongst women. Perhaps, this could be because breast cancer affects body image and self esteem in ways that being diagnosed with a heart disease does not. Some research also state that most women believe that more men die from heart disease as opposed to women which is actually not the case.

Why isn’t there a lot of awareness and enlightenment on heart disease for women? Why is the actual leading cause of death in women getting less attention?


Its so good to be on this platform. I just learnt something new.


Heart disease in women should not be looked at from the clinical or medical angle alone. It should be looked at also from the Social angle as many women in Nigeria find themselves in disadvantaged situations. They suffer emotionally and are even told it’s the right thing to do. When they have health challenges, they do not get emotional support from their spouse or children, in some cases. Heart disease in women, mostly starts from lifestyle changes; both family and occupational changes.
The situation is worse for women who are professionals, earn huge salaries, are political office holders etc. They are usually alone in their struggles and are mostly lonely, causing many to develop heart conditions, leading up to heart disease.
Ignorance and emotional instability has been linked to some cardiovascular diseases.
Thus, more attention should be given to the campaign against Heart disease in women, focusing providing pyscho-social support, creating support groups and enforcing Laws that protect women rights.

Elizabeth Adams
Thank you


Interesting write up. Personally I feel that no one gives enough attention to CVDs unlike when it comes to malaria.


Well I never knew about this high prevalence of heart disease among women. As with many other conditions especially for African and particularly Nigerian women, it must have a lot to do with our lifestyle choices, food options, attitude to physical activity and recreation, our quality of life amongst others. Of particular bother to me is the fact that in mainstream food matters, the majority of our population eat rice and bread amd yam and garri then loads of oil and all that. I guess all these things play a huge role in the high rate of mortality from heart-related NCDs.