Expert explains how to prevent heart disease in women

STL Moms

ST. LOUIS – Heart disease remains the number one killer of women.

What can be tricky about heart disease is the symptoms vary greatly between men and women.

The Medical Director of Women’s and Neonatal Clinical Programs for the St. Louis Region with SSM Health Dr. Karyn Fowler explains what women can do to protect themselves.

Fowler said women’s heart disease symptoms can be very subtle. They include shortness of breath, shortness of breath with exertion, nausea vomiting with jaw pain, chest pain, back pain, jaw pain, fatigue, lightheadedness, and dizziness. She said these symptoms can happen at the same time or they can happen one at a time.

“Women typically don’t report symptoms when they’re subtle,” Fowler said.

In order to catch heart disease early, Fowler says it’s important to get a yearly physical. Women should get their cholesterol levels tested because that could increase a women’s risk for heart disease.

At a yearly physical, doctors will ask women about their lifestyle habits that put them at high risk. Those include smoking and stress management.

In order to prevent heart disease, Fowler said it’s important to keep up with “the three medicines of life,” nutrition, sleep and movement.

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