Forget the myth that heart attacks mostly affect men: Women are more at risk than you might think

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Forget the myth that heart attacks mostly affect men: Women are more at risk than you might think

Authored by: Dr Matthew Lee; BMSc, MBBS, MSc

Last reviewed: July 2024.

What's in this PocDoc Article:

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) isn’t just a male problem

CVD prematurely takes the lives of more than twice as many women in the UK as breast cancer ( before 75 years ). Despite the prevalence across both genders, cardiovascular disease is often viewed as a ‘man’s disease’, which often leads to a lack of awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and symptoms in women.

Poc Doc Women and CVD

Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer of women across all ages. These figures make it clear that CVD is not just a ‘man’s disease’. PocDoc is committed to highlighting risk factors and symptoms in women to aid in the early detection and treatment of CVD in women.

Symptoms of cardiovascular disease in women

According to an article from Johns Hopkins, there are differences between heart disease in men and women. Women are much more likely to have unique heart attack symptoms than men. This is a significant challenge for diagnosing women with heart disease as they can develop symptoms that are subtler and harder to detect as a heart attack.

Classic symptoms of heart attacks, according to the American Heart Association (AHA)for men, include but is not limited to:

  • Chest pain or squeezing chest pressure
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath

Women, in general, have a longer list of possible symptoms, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Chest pain, but not in every case
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Indigestion

Several common risk factors related to CVD affect both men and women

  • Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH): Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic condition, affects the body’s ability to process and remove cholesterol from the blood. Lipid-lowering therapies will help to reduce heart disease risk in those with FH.

However, some additional CVD risk factors predominantly affect women yet have not been given the air-time and publicity they deserve, include:

For a more in-depth look at CVD risk factors, read our article on “Understanding PocDoc Lipid Test Results”

PocDoc is bridging the gap in women’s health and cardiovascular disease

Regular heart health screenings are a crucial way to detect and monitor CVD risk factors, aiding in early treatment and prevention. The PocDoc Healthy Heart Check is a convenient and accessible way for women to be in control of their health through monitoring their own heart health.


With PocDoc, women can:

  • Conduct their own heart health check, equivalent to the NHS health check, from the comfort of their home.
  • Receive their results in under 10 minutes.

Empowering Women: Nur Fitness Spotlight

PocDoc has partnered with various organizations to increase the uptake in heart health screenings in women, including Nur Fitness. Here are some of the testimonials from Nur Fitness:


The PocDoc Healthy Heart Check was not only well received in the community and successfully identified women who are at high risk of CVD, prompting them to get early treatment.

If you are interested in conducting your own heart health screening, the PocDoc Healthy Heart Check is available for purchase here.

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