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“I have been so made aware how heart disease is the number one killer of women,” Wills said. Other signs of a heart attack include pressure in the center of the chest, pain in both arms, nausea and light headedness.

And when a woman’s heart starts to feel a tad different with every beat (even occasionally) or they can’t get rid of that annoying little tingle in their arm, too often a woman will find an excuse not to see a doctor about it.

What they seldom consider is that it might be the beginning of heart disease. And for millions of women, that’s exactly what it is.

“Women are pulled in so many directions that they simply don’t take care of their own health,” explains Dr. Marion Hofmann Bowman, associate professor of medicine, Section of Cardiology at The University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences. “From stress to sleep deprivation to a sedentary lifestyle, women are especially susceptible to developing heart disease in their lifetime.”

In fact, the American Heart Association states that one in three adult women are living with some form of cardiovascular disease and may or may not realize it. Heart disease remains the number one killer of women in the U.S.

But like everything, there are signs (some very early ones) — if you are paying attention to your body.

“Women need to pay attention to things like tightness in their chest or any feeling in their heart that feels different and is not going away,” explains Dr. Annabelle Volgman, medical director of the Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center. “The good thing about women is they have an amazing intuition. They simply have to listen to what their body is telling them and make sure that they are their own advocate for their own health.” And it’s important to note that women can experience a heart attack without any chest discomfort or pain.

“Genetics can make African-American women much more salt-sensitive, which ultimately results in obesity and diabetes later in life,” remarks Volgman. “Yes, there are lots of medications and a lifestyle that can lower the blood pressure. With that in mind, they need to eat less salt, keep their weight down and treat with medications if needed.”

Indeed, a common lag in treating heart disease often results in the disease either not being diagnosed in time or simply not treated properly.

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