Top 3 Diseases That Kill Women in the U. S. and What You Can Do To Help Reduce Your Risk

Women in the United States are more likely to die from one of three medical conditions:

Heart Disease

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) the number one killer of women in the United States is heart disease. Many believe men are more susceptible to heart disease when actually 1 out of every 3 women in the U.S. will die from heart disease. In fact, 90% of U.S. women have a least one or more of the risk factors for heart disease. Here are some recommendations to help lower your risk:

  1. Stop smoking –Studies show you can lower your risk of heart disease within only one to two years after you kick the habit.
  2. Lower cholesterol – Cholesterol builds up in your heart and arteries increasing your risk of developing heart disease. Check out this list of 10 heart-healthy foods that can help you lower cholesterol:
  3. Participate in regular exercise – Studies show as little as 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day can help lower the risk of heart disease by up to 30 to 40 percent. If you can’t devote 30 minutes straight to exercise, break it up into three 10-minute intervals.
  4. Lose weight, especially around your waistline – Even if you are a normal weight, if you carry excess weight around your mid-section, you increase your risk for heart disease because your risk of high cholesterol is greater.


Almost 25% of deaths for women in the U.S. are caused by cancer, predominantly breast, skin, lung, uterine, and colorectal cancers. Multiple known cancer risk factors include smoking, poor diet, obesity, excessive sun exposure, and lack of exercise. To lower your risk, researchers recommend:

  1. Stop smoking – Eliminating your smoking habit is the number one recommendation to reduce your cancer risk. One-third of all cancer deaths in the United States are related to smoking.
  2. Improve your diet by reducing the amount of red meat and processed foods you eat, and by increasing your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Here’s a list of 7 cancer-causing foods researchers recommend you avoid to help reduce your cancer risk:
  3. Exercise – Studies show regular exercise reduces the risk of many cancers including colon cancer and breast cancer.
  4. Protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun – Always wear sunscreen, even during the winter months, to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. It’s also a good idea to check regularly for irregular moles and new skin “tags”, and to schedule a yearly skin check with your dermatologist.


20% of women in the U.S. will suffer a stroke in her lifetime and approximately 55,000 more women than men in the U. S. experience strokes each year. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Exercise – You can reduce your risk of stroke by 25% if you regularly engage in moderate to vigorous exercise.
  2. Drink more water, eliminate sugary drinks – Drinking 5 or more 8-ounce glasses of water each day cuts stroke risk while only one sugary drink daily increases stroke risk by a whopping 83%. More incentive to grab some H2O!
  3. Stop smoking – This habit can increase your risk of stroke by up to 50%.
  4. Avoid too much sleep – Studies show women who sleep 10 or more hours a night have a 63% greater risk of suffering a stroke. Snoring may also contribute to stroke risk so tell your doctor if you snore.
  5. Know the signs and symptoms of stroke – Successfully surviving and recovering from a stroke depends on how quickly you receive medical treatment. It is imperative to receive medical treatment to treat the effects of stroke within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms. According to the National Stroke Association, pay attention to these warning signs and seek medical treatment immediately:
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Unexplained dizziness but no vertigo
  • Hiccups with chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Numbness throughout the body, more prominent on one side than the other
  • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Sudden loss of balance or inability to walk
  • Numbness or weakness in face or extremities

Neurologist Diana Greene-Chandos, M. D., explains, “Women shouldn’t ignore their symptoms or hope they will go away because they may lose their opportunity to receive acute treatment.”