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Hearts All Around

Test Your TickerFebruary is all about love. It’s also American Heart Month. It’s a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, women and heart disease also pair up well. But, that’s not the kind of love connection most of us have in mind.

Even for a cardiologist, identifying women with heart disease can be tough. Just ask Rajya L. Malay, MD, who treats women with heart disease every day. Here’s what every woman needs to know.

  • Women often don’t show symptoms of heart disease until much later than men ... almost 10 years later.
  • By the time symptoms appear, women have developed other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and weight gain.
  • Women’s risk for heart disease increases as their estrogen levels decrease, which is after menopause.
  • Unmanaged diabetes has no symptoms. That’s why it’s called a silent killer.
  • High blood pressure is not a normal part of life. It’s a sign of a potentially deadly heart problem.
  • Even the smallest change in your health could be significant. Tell your doctor.
  • Report symptoms of heart disease as soon as possible.
  • Ignoring your health makes proper diagnosis and treatment more challenging.
  • A cardiac event isn’t a once-and-done event. If you’ve had one heart attack, you’re at a higher risk for a second one. Keep your cardiologist appointments.

Signs and Symptoms

While chest pain is still the most common symptom of a cardiac event, women can also experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shoulder or back pain
  • Sudden fatigue

Test your ticker at one of our heart health events. Or, make an appointment with one of our Meritas Health cardiologists.