10 things you should know about heart disease in women, from Harvard Women's Health Watch

Published: January, 2010

Heart disease isn't a gender-neutral condition. Although many of the risk factors are the same in women and men—including high cholesterol, inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking—heart disease can develop differently in women than men, cause different symptoms, and have a different impact on long-term health. The January 2010 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch outlines 10 things women should know about heart risks and how to manage them. Here's a sample:

Cholesterol. A low level of "good" HDL cholesterol—below 50 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)—is a bigger problem for women than elevated "bad" LDL cholesterol. In fact, the total cholesterol level is less important than the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. For women, the optimal ratio is less than 3.2.High triglycerides (over 150 mg/dL) also pose a bigger heart risk for women than men.

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