The following content is created in consultation with Main Line Health. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Philadelphia’s editorial staff. Click here to learn more about Main Line Health's Lankenau Heart Institute. 

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for both men and women. But there are significant gender differences when it comes to risk factors, symptoms and likely outcomes.

Risk factors
A woman's blood vessels are smaller than a man’s and may be blocked more easily. In addition, while diabetes and smoking exacerbate health conditions in both genders, the impact is more significant in women than men.

During a heart attack, men tend to break out into a cold sweat and have shooting pain down the left arm while women experience nausea, fatigue and breathing problems. Women's heart attack symptoms are more likely to be dismissed or misdiagnosed as anxiety or depression. 

Studies show that women wait much longer than men to seek emergency treatment for heart attack symptoms, leading to a higher mortality rate.

You can learn more about the unique warning signs and risk factors of women's heart disease in a free webinar from Main Line Health and NBC. 


  1. Live on Tuesday 4/9 at 1 pm: Register now 
  2. On demand whenever you'd like: Register now


Katie Hawthorne, MD, FACC
Cardiologist, Lankenau Heart Institute  
Dr. Hawthorne, a non-invasive cardiologist, is an integral member of the Women's Heart Initiative at Lankenau Heart Institute, where she provides program leadership and clinical education about pregnancy and cardiovascular disease.

Heather Forgione, MHA
Program Manager, Women’s Heart Initiative  
The first program manager to lead the Women’s Heart Initiative at Lankenau Heart Institute, Ms. Forgione focuses on developing programs and initiatives that educate women in the community about heart disease and their risk factors. 

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