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As a cardiologist focusing on women's health and the prevention of heart disease, I feel that teaching patients about their cardiovascular health is one of the most valuable contributions I can make toward successfully preventing the development of heart disease. Knowing the most critical numbers for your heart health including Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, and Body Mass Index (BMI) could save your life.

"One in three women are dying of heart disease yet only one in five women knew that heart disease was our number one health risk", said American Heart Association Communications Director Chrissy Meyer.

There are non-modifiable risk factors, like age and family history, for developing cardiovascular disease that you can't change but other risk factors can be treated and controlled.

Naturally occurring estrogen tends to raise HDL cholesterol levels - the "good" cholesterol that helps carry away artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. For instance, women's heart attacks often don't present with the stereotypical pain in the chest; they're more likely to present with symptoms like chest or neck pain, sweatiness, shortness of breath, and nausea.

New research released by Opinion Matters, commissioned by the food services giant Aramark, found that 35% of people don't know how to correctly respond to a heart attack.

Since the Go Red campaign was founded 15 years ago, 293 fewer women are dying each day of heart disease. Dressed in their best red attire, hospital employees gathered to form a giant "human heart" to raise awareness of the No. 1 killer of American women and to support the millions of women affected by heart disease.

Meyer said, "We know by that making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, getting a little bit more exercise, eating a little bit healthier diet, you can make significant changes to really put yourself on the right path".

Individualized to the unique needs of women, the Center for Women's Cardiac Health & Research offers a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation just for women. This assessment should include an evaluation of blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, smoking habits, activity level and weight. Losing even small amounts can help lower your blood pressure and your risk of diabetes.


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