The medical community and broader public have historically focused on heart disease as a concern for men, even though it has been the leading cause of death in women for decades. Through an analysis of medical publications, women's health literature, and mainstream media, this article traces the interactions of gender and age on perceptions of heart disease during the twentieth century. I argue that attention to middle-age mortality rates accentuated men's susceptibility to heart disease over women's, even as these differences diminished at older ages, when the majority of deaths occurred. Age and gender biases combined to frame heart disease as a man's disease on one hand, while the women's health movement marginalized older women's health on the other. It was not until the following decades that older women began to attract clinical concern and greater public attention, which ultimately expanded narrow frameworks of both heart disease and women's health.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 577-609
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.