February is American Heart Disease month. Friday is National Wear Red Day, a time for women to learn about their unique risk for heart disease. Heart disease looks very different in women than men, and yet sometimes even doctors don't see the difference. Women's symptoms of heart disease and even heart attack are less about crushing pain in the chest, as with men, and more about subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, pressure in the chest, arms or jaw, nausea and dizziness. If you're having those symptoms, get to your doctor or to the emergency room.
Heart disease kills more women than men. Oklahoma women are at greater risk because Oklahoma consistently and sadly ranks among the worst in the nation for the incidence of heart disease. Women should know what their specific heart health numbers are: blood pressure, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose and body mass index. Be honest: Are you overweight, a smoker or diabetic? Once you know your numbers, and if you find red flags, go to work turning the tables on heart disease.
Christine Rattin, M.D., Lawton
Rattin is a cardiologist at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Lawton and Oklahoma City. Learn more about the 10th annual National Wear Red Day at GoRedForWomen.org/WearRedDay.