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Karen Boe Gatlin
Karen Boe Gatlin
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Women and Heart Disease

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While there are classic symptoms of myocardial infarction (heart attack), such as chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath. and pain radiating to the left arm, women often show atypical symptoms such as nausea, light-headedness, anxiety, weakness/fatigue, pain between the shoulder blades and heartburn. Physicians must be alert for these symptoms. An EKG is essential to rule out heart attack and echocardiogram and angiography should be done if symptoms persist. Patients should not ignore symptoms that are not “classic” signs of heart attack. It is better to go the emergency room to rule out problems than risk cardiac damage. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women and is the most preventable. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Risk factors are family history of heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, Diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol; however, even women without these risk factors may suffer from heart disease.