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Last updated on Monday, February 6, 2012
(UNDATED) - February is all about the hearts, but it’s not just for Valentine’s Day.
It's Heart Month, a national campaign to raise awareness for heart disease - the number one killer of women.
"Unfortunately women think they are protected from heart attacks. They are not," said Dr. Ramesh Shatagopam, a cardiologist at the UAP Clinic in Terre Haute.
Almost every minute, one woman in America suffers a heart attack, killing 250,000 women each year. That's half of all heart-attack fatalities.
Doctors say its never too early to start thinking about the health of your heart, and lifestyle modification is even more effective for women.
"Time is of the essence, said Dr. Shatagopam. "They should not delay because once the heart muscle dies, it dies forever."
Some of the risk factors you can take charge of: high blood pressure or cholesterol, lack of exercise, not eating right and being overweight, and the biggest of all - smoking.
"If we can control them early, then there's a very good chance that the heart attack risk is decreased and women will live longer," said Dr. Shatagopam.
Doctors also say you know your body best, and if something doesn't feel right, get checked. It could be the difference between life and death.
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