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Heart Disease is No.1 Killer of Women

Many people believe cancer is the most deadly threat to women, but the No.1 killer is actually heart disease. Women over age 55 are at a greater risk as are those with close family member who had heart disease at an early age. However women are increasingly becoming at risk at younger ages.

All women can take steps to prevent heart disease by making healthy lifestyle changes. Having health insurance is key for preventative treatment. Receiving regular checkups and physicals and talking about heart health with your doctor can save lives.

According to the National Institute of Health, 80 percent of midlife women (ages 40 to 60) still have one or more of the modifiable risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, and smoking. Sixty percent of younger women, ages 20-39, have one or more of these risk factors. Recent data show high rates of overweight/obesity in younger women, which may lead to higher rates of heart disease in later years.

Symptoms of heart disease for women are different than they are for men. It can be hard to classify common symptoms. Health professionals say, in the past, women who were having massive heart attacks felt as if all they needed to do was burp and it would get better. It fools everyone. The best advice for women is if you’re feeling bad enough to think that something’s wrong and it’s persistent and it continues to make you feel worse — women still feel some kind of chest discomfort and some type of shortness of breath — you should go to the emergency room.

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