BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The first Friday of February brings in a time for increased awareness about a disease that affects women about as much as men.
Friday is Go Red for Women Day, and many of those in Graves Gilbert Clinic's cardiology department dressed in support.
Contrary to what some may think, the American Heart Association says cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S.
"Heart disease in women is under-recognized and under-treated," said Dr. Sandeep Chhabra, cardiologist at Graves Gilbert Clinic. "There is a prevailing myth that leading cause of death in women is cancer --breast cancer, particularly. But if you look at the facts, leading cause of death for both men and women is heart disease."
Noticing the symptoms related is crucial then, but as one local doctor said, it's important to note that heart disease can look different in women when compared to men.
"A woman with a heart attack may not have chest pain, and they may have only shortness of breath as their symptoms," said Chhabra. "So if they're having symptoms, they should not ignore it, and they should seek help with a qualified healthcare professional, who at that point would run some tests to figure out if you're actually having cardiovascular disease, or some other cause for your symptoms."
A new report from the American Heart Association said across the U.S., 48 percent of adults do in fact have heart disease.
"A lot of times, women are too focused on helping everybody else, and they leave themselves behind," said Terri Smith, a registered medical assistant. "So, in reality, they should be noticing their symptoms as well."
Dr. Chhabra said heart disease is preventable, but that's why early recognition is key, and you shouldn't ignore symptoms.