Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Heart Disease Risks

May 8, 2013

Heart disease can happen at any age and often has a better outcome for men than women.
In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report CBS19's Stephanie Satchell looks at risk factors, the signs and symptoms of heart disease and why they are different in women.

Dr. Christina Bove is a cardiologist at Blue Ridge Heart and Vascular. She sees many patients with cardiovascular issues and many of them don't even know they have a condition specially women.

"Women typically don't present with the same chest pain that men present with. They more frequently will present with nausea or vomiting, often shortness of breath, sometimes just fatigue or generalized weakness or back or neck pain or upper abdominal pain," said Dr. Christina Bove, Cardiologist, Blue Ridge Heart and Vascular.

Because of these atypical symptoms, women often don't find out until it's too late.

"That's why it's often not diagnosed. Up to 65% of women die from an acute heart attack that's their first presenting symptom," said Dr. Bove.

Dr. Bove says there are several conditions or habits that can put you at risk.

"So, the traditional risk factors would be diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In addition to that, inactivity, obesity and smoking, (are also risk factors)" said Dr. Bove.

The more risk factors you have, the more your chances of having heart issues increases.

"Having just one of the risk factors doubles the risk for heart disease and having two risk factors quadruples the risk for heart disease," said Dr. Bove.

Now Dr. Bove is trying to spread the word about prevention. She says starting early with exercise and watching your cholesterol can make all the difference later in life.

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