By J. Douglas Overbeck, MD
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death for women in America, along with strokes.  Although death rates have decreased overall for Americans with CVD, the number of deaths has increased for women ranging in age from 35-54.  Heart attack signs are different for women than the common, often discussed signs for men.
Here are some signs females may be having a heart attack :
- Chest pain that feels like a ton of weight pressing on you
- Strange discomfort in any regions of the upper body
- Cold sweats or paleness
- Nausea or fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or Dizziness
- Stomach/Abdominal Pain
Heart disease is a lifelong condition. Once you have it, you will have it forever. So do what you can to change your daily habits now to control this deadly disease. Some lifestyle choices and medical conditions, such as poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes all increase a person’s chances for CVD. 
One of the first steps towards a healthy heart is a healthy blood pressure. Visit with your doctor to determine the appropriate blood pressure for your age and health history. Monitoring your risk factors often will help you determine if you have a weakening heart and will alert you to be examined by your doctor.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, why not take some time to care for yourself and your heart that cares for others so well. A recent study found that nearly 75% of heart disease cases can be prevented by making better lifestyle choices, so it is not too late to make improvements that can potentially help save your life.  Don’t let yourself be one of the 400,000 female lives that are claimed each year by heart disease. Instead, treat your heart this Valentine’s Day to more activity, exercising regularly, eating healthier, and being smoke-free.
Douglas Overbeck, MD, FACC is a Las Colinas-based cardiologist with more than 25 years of experience in providing cardiac care to patients in North Texas. He is the founder of the Tuscan Cardiovascular Center in Las Colinas and also primary cardiologist for the Medical & Surgical Clinic of Irving. To learn more about how you can reach your health and wellness goals, please call us at (972) 253-2505 or visit TuscanCardio.com.
 American Heart Association
 Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2013, Vol. 61, No. 22, pg. 49–52
 The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2015, Vol. 65, No.1, pg. 43–51