Beating Heart Disease

“The best piece of advice I have to offer regarding reducing your risk for heart disease is to be proactive,” says Dr. Barbara Karenko. “Quit smoking. Exercise. Maintain a healthy weight. Get checkups regularly. And know your family history. Each of these actions—alone and in combination—can minimize risks.”

There’s an even greater impetus, Dr. Karenko says, to encourage women—who are much more likely to die than men from a heart attack—both to know and act on symptoms including the sudden onset of indigestion, shortness of breath, chest pressure, or increased fatigue. “As women, we’re so used to being caregivers that we don’t always recognize symptoms, or we minimize them, delaying a visit to the doctor until the situation is intolerable or until it’s too late. I know it’s easier said than done, but I encourage every woman to make their own health a priority.”