Published: February 2007
Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

Did You Know?

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women, with an estimated 267,000 women dying each year from heart attacks. Though cancer is often considered to be more of a threat, heart attacks kill four to six times as many women as breast cancer, and more women die of heart disease and stroke than from all forms of cancer combined. Unfortunately many women do not realize that the warning signs of a heart attack for them can differ from those for men. In one study done for the National Institutes of Health, 43 percent of women reported having no chest pain during an attack. (Chest pain is a common complaint among men.) The symptoms most commonly reported by women include shortness of breath, unusual fatigue or weakness, nausea, clamminess, indigestion—all easily dismissed as something other than a sign of a heart attack. When having an attack, getting to the hospital promptly is vital, so if you think you are experiencing symptoms, go immediately to a hospital emergency room and have a doctor assess your condition.

—Abby Tipton