Dr. V Says Be Heart Healthy!

February 7, 2012 Updated Feb 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM EDT

By WKBW News

February 7, 2012 Updated Feb 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) February is "Heart Healthy Month," to call attention to the fact that heart disease is the number killer of women.

Tuesday on Channel 7's "Eyewitness News This Morning," Dr. Raul Vazquez from Urban Family Practice stopped by to update Patrick Taney and Ginger Geoffery on how to live healthy.

Here is some vital information -

Heart attack symptoms for women -
Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Unusual fatigue

Heart disease risk factors for women -
Metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men.

Mental stress and depression affect women's hearts more than men's. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment, so talk to your doctor if you're having symptoms of depression.

Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.

Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels (small vessel heart disease).

What can women do to reduce their risk of heart disease?
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease:

Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Quit or don't start smoking.
Eat a diet that's low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.