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Why are women more at risk for heart problems?

Posted at 8:35 AM, Feb 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-12 10:35:24-05

As we focus on Heart Health Month, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women — more than any cancer.

ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti says several factors cause signs of heart disease to go overlooked in women.

He says historically doctors put more focus on men than women, though that is changing starting with the teachings in medical school.

Women also tend to be the caregivers and often take the men in their lives to the doctor for wellness checks while neglecting their own heart health.

Biology also factors in as Dr. Shad says women have smaller arteries, making it harder to see blocked arteries on an angiogram.

Dr. Shad says the biggest mistake is not recognizing the signs of a heart attack, as they present differently than in men who typically experience crushing chest pain and trouble breathing.

He says women should know their numbers, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and have a stress test if they often find themselves with shortness of breath.

Start speaking with your doctor about your risk and prevention in your 30s and 40s.

For women watch for lower jaw pain, neck or throat pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and mid-back or upper belly pain.