Heart disease isn't just a men's problem

On Call - Woman's Heart Health
On Call - Woman's Heart Health

February is American Heart Month and there are a few things you probably don't know about heart disease -- especially as it affects women.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, but until recently, as Dr. Karen Latimer explains, cardiac issues were thought to be a men's health problem. The truth is, more women die from heart disease than men.

According to Mary C. Collins, APN-BC, part of the problem is that women's symptoms are often more subtle than men's. Many women will wait out their symptoms instead of seeking help, and for those that do seek help, they are often met by healthcare providers who don't associate women with heart disease.

The best protection is knowing what to watch out for. Women's symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Discomfort in upper chest

  • Nausea

How can you lower your risk for heart disease? Here are the most important things you can do:

  • Eat a heart healthy diet.

  • Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise about five times a week.

  • Know your personal risks.

To learn more about heart health for women and men, join us on Twitter (@AOLLifestyle) today at 3 p.m. EST to ask Dr. Karen Latimer your questions.

More on heart health:
Can you tweets predict your heart wellness?
7 surprising signs of an unhealthy heart
How women can prevent heart disease
Barbra Streisand on women's heart disease