Healthbeat: ‘Women can have it all, even heart disease’

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — You hear it every holiday season: it’s the most wonderful time of the year. However, health experts warn it could be one of the most dangerous times for women who are unaware of any heart health risks.

Stress and overindulgence during the holidays can raise the risk of a heart attack for women who are unaware of cardiovascular health issues they may have.

An awareness campaign launched Tuesday aims to put heart health on women’s radar.

A new public service campaign by the non-profits, Women’s Heart Alliance and WomenHeart, is a call to action concerning the number one killer of women in the U.S.: heart disease.

“Women continue to be unaware of this as their leading health threat. Heart disease kills more young women than breast cancer for example,” said Noel Bairey Merz, MD, co-founder of Women’s Heart Alliance.

The public service campaign called “Women Can Have It All. Even Heart Disease,” features Lady Gaga singing her song “The Cure” juxtaposed with symptoms a woman may experience during a heart attack; symptoms which can be much more subtle than crushing chest pain.

“Women are more likely to have fatigue, shortness of breath, radiating or jaw pain. They might think that it’s just indigestion,” said Dr. Merz.

Dr. Merz says it’s vital for women to get their hearts checked, which starts with a discussion.

“So, having that conversation with your healthcare provider may uncover symptoms that otherwise were being ignored or missed and that could lead to additional diagnostics,” Dr. Merz said.

Early detection and treatment are the keys to curbing the tragic numbers of heart disease which the CDC blames for one in every five female deaths. Dr. Merz says husbands, sons and brothers can be part of the solution by urging women near and dear to them to get checked.

“For the men that are listening, get that for the loved ones in your life that are female because it’s critically important at this time,” Dr. Merz said.

Dr. Merz says by women knowing the risk factors of heart disease and symptoms of a heart attack, they can reverse this public health crisis.

The Women’s Heart Alliance provides free online resources about women’s heart health.

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