As the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., heart disease is responsible for more than one-third of all female fatalities.
The condition poses a unique threat to women because the symptoms can be very different from the ones men experience – leading many women to believe they aren’t at risk.
Senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, Dr. Manny Alvarez, recently sat down with comedian and co-host of The View, Joy Behar to talk about heart disease in women.
Behar said she thinks that most women believe breast cancer is the number one killer of women because there is not enough awareness about heart disease.
“Women go to the gynecologist, get their pap smears, their mammograms,” she said. “I think women are pretty vigilant, but when it comes to heart disease, I think we have thought it is a man’s disease more than a woman’s disease.”
Behar said heart disease runs in her family. Her mother had her first heart attack when she was 50 years old and went on to have heart disease. She was on blood thinner medication for many years and eventually died from a stroke. Two of Behar’s uncles died in their 50s from heart attacks.
To raise awareness about women’s heart health, she partnered with Bayer aspirin to develop a guide called Straight Talk: A woman’s guide to heart health. The guide is full of comprehensive information for women and can be downloaded for free at www.Iamproheart.com.
Alvarez said he thinks that not only is it important for women to be informed about heart disease, but it could be potentially life-saving.
“The signs and symptoms of heart disease for women are sometimes a little more atypical,” Alvarez said. “It can be very subtle, it can be a small arm pain or in the neck or the face. So as a woman you’ve really got to pay attention.”
“I want to let women know, it is an issue, and you need to get your heart checked,” Behar said.