Preventing Heart Disease, The Number One Killer of Women

Published 03/13 2014 08:23PM

Updated 03/14 2014 08:51AM

With spring and summer months ahead, many of us are eager to go to the gym and get in shape. But there's an even more important reason to work out, it keeps your heart healthy.

Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year in the United States. Even more disturbing, it is the number one killer of women, making the disease more deadly than all forms of cancer. 

"The take home message is that 75% of cardiovascular disease is preventable. So my passion is to get the word out to prevent it on the front end so you don't have to treat it on the back end," says Dr. Shyla High, a Cardiologist. 

Doctor High says more than a third of heart attacks in women happen to women under the age of 55. The good news is, a majority of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by maintaining a heart healthy life.

Doctor High recommends avoiding high-fat and trans fat foods and also scheduling a regular physical exam. Knowing your cholesterol and blood pressure can help determine if you have heart disease.

"We know from research that heart disease can start very young, so we have a lot of different programs for youth. As well as older adults," says Brian West, the Senior Program Director at Jorgensen YMCA.

The YMCA offers youth fit programs as well as a Silver Sneaker program for members over 65. 

Doctor High recently wrote a book called "Why Most Women Die," detailing the risks of heart disease, including heart attacks. Chest pain, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue are all symptoms of a heart attack.

"A lot of times women think they're having anxiety, maybe a bit of indigestion. Unfortunately, women don't have the key symptoms that will alarm them like men do," said Dr. High.

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