Heart Awareness Month: Heart disease leading cause of death in women

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- February is Heart Awareness Month. Local cardiologists talk about some heart trends and how best to take care of the organ.

"Heart disease remains the commonest cause of death in this country," said Allan H. Pribble, Cardiologist at Graves Gilbert Clinic.

Heart disease is especially prominent among women, also the leading cause of death for women over breast cancer, according to the American Heart Association.

"Focusing women to that understanding is a very important job," said Dr. Pribble. "Women, however, are much more common to become short of breath rather than to have chest pain as a first manifestation of coronary disease."

That beating organ inside your chest should not taken for granted.

"What I see when I came to Kentucky first was not always a healthy diet and a high rate of smoking," said Dr. Frank Schwender, Southern Kentucky Heart Institute.

Risk factors for heart disease and other heart problems are important to understand.

"The risk factors for developing heart problems are number one are genetics," said Dr. Pribble.

Also it's important to stay on top of your health in various ways.

"Get screens that you don't have high blood pressure, get screened for cholesterol, so you can make the right changes early on in life," said Dr. Schwender.

Heart problems can also stem from somewhere else.

"The main problem that we have right now is obesity. Obesity is a true epidemic in this country as well as many other parts of the world," said Dr. Pribble.

Obesity leads to a lower quality of life.

"Obsesity leads to hypertension, then to diabetes, then cardiovascular disease, coronary disease, increased risk of stroke, sleep apnea," said Dr. Schwender.

Between it all though, cardiology itself has come a long way.

"40 years ago we didn't have pace makers, and heart surgery was unknown except for valvular disease," said Dr. Pribble. "What we're really good at is fixing heart disease once it occurs."

Western Kentucky Vein Center will have free screens from 9-5 on February 20. Finding solutions to fix vein problems can lead to a better quality of life, which equates to more physical activity, and therefore a healthier heart.

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