Heart Month: Spreading awareness of women, heart disease

Heart disease kills 1 in 4 women in the US annually

By Brittny McGraw - Anchor

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. - In honor of American Heart Month, 10 News has been sharing how to stay heart healthy through good nutrition and regular exercise.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said heart disease can affect any one at any age.

Although it is sometimes thought of as a problem for men, numbers show it kills about one in four women in the U.S. every year.

"Heart disease is the most common cause of death for women after menopause, and by the time a woman is 65 years old, she's more likely than a man to die of a heart attack," said Dr. David Roberts, chief medical officer at the Community Health Center of the New River Valley. 

Roberts said women and health professionals may sometimes miss the symptoms of a heart attack in women.

"Women are much more likely to have atypical symptoms," Roberts said. "Jaw pain, for example, which I think in a lot of settings is overlooked."

Roberts said there are some things, such as genetic issues, that women cannot control when it comes to heart health, but tens of thousands of heart and stroke-related deaths each year are preventable.

"There are many things that are within women's control: regular exercise, eating well, avoiding known risk factors like smoking," said Roberts.

Health professionals said it's key that women and men invest in their health.

"There are many things we can do once the disease is recognized that will extend people's lives," Roberts said.

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