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What Women Don't Know About Heart Health Can Harm Them

I know that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. What can women do to reduce their risk?

Dr. Puttappa says reducing your risk of heart disease begins with understanding the factors that may lead to a heart attack. These include age, heredity, history of a previous heart attack, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, stress, high triglyceride levels and excessive alcohol consumption.

Many women don’t recognize these warning signs of heart attack:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Pain or pressure in the back, high chest or one or both arms
  • Discomfort in the chest that may be described as pressure, ache, or tightness that may come and go
  • A burning sensation in the chest or upper abdomen
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea

Dr. Puttappa says there are several lifestyle changes women can make to reduce their risk of heart disease. Dr Puttappa is a board-certified Cardiology specialist for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

“Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, maintain a healthy weight, quit or don’t start smoking and eat a diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt,” she suggests. “Also, be sure you take prescribed medications such as blood thinners like aspirin and cholesterol- lowering medication appropriately.”​