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Heart Disease a Leading Cause of Death for TN Women

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for women in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Health Department. (Adobe Stock)
Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for women in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Health Department. (Adobe Stock)
May 16, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This week is Women's Health Week and the Tennessee Department of Health is urging women to make sure they're caught up on preventive screenings, such as mammograms.

Kelly Luskin, section chief of reproductive and women's health at the Tennessee Department of Health, says women should talk to their health care providers about which screenings and tests are right for them, when they should have them and how often.

"Really, I think what's happening these days with preventive screening guidelines is it's much more individualized,” she states. “It's not so cookie cutter as it was before: 'Everybody must do this every year.'

“It really is kind of sitting down and looking at what are you risks and, based on your risks, what do we need to screen you for."

Luskin says heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for women in Tennessee. More than 7,000 women succumbed to heart disease in 2017.

Research shows women tend to be primary caregivers and often put their families before themselves when it comes to health.

Luskin urges women to take charge of their health by avoiding smoking and paying attention to signs of stress.

"Mental health and stress, we all know, plays a role huge in people's overall health and can also lead to things such as heart disease.”

The second leading cause of death for women in Tennessee is cancer, followed by chronic lower respiratory disease.

Smoking is a major risk factor. In 2017, 21% of adult women in Tennessee were smokers, according to the Health Department.

Tennesseans who need support stopping tobacco use can call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine for counseling at no charge. For information, visit

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - TN