Myth: Women are more at risk for cancer than they are for cardiovascular disease.

Fact: Heart and vascular disease (together known as cardiovascular disease or CVD) is the single most common cause of death among women. Nearly twice as many women in the United States die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular disease as they do from all forms of cancer combined, including breast cancer.

Myth: Only women over 50 need to worry about their heart health.

Fact: Cardiovascular disease is the third-leading cause of death for women ages 35 to 44, and the second-leading cause of death for women ages 45 to 54.

Myth: If I’m fit, I don’t have to worry about my heart.

Fact: Being in the best of shape does not eliminate your risk for cardiovascular disease. Just being a woman increases your risk, as does increasing age. You may have other risk factors that you can’t control, such as a family history of heart disease. If you do have a family history, the AHA recommends getting your cholesterol checked starting at age 20. Also keep in mind that you can be thin, but if you still smoke, make poor food choices, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you are at greater risk—regardless of your healthy weight. Don’t assume you’re immune. Take steps to change unhealthy habits and protect your heart.