PITTSBURGH (KDKA)- February is Heart Month and it kicks off with “National Wear Red Day” – a day that focuses on women and their hearts.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Women often ignore the warning signs that something is wrong with their hearts.

“More women die of heart disease than men, and that number is increasing every year,” says UPMC cardiologist Dr. Elizabeth Piccione.

So here’s what you need to know when it comes to your heart:

  • One in three women will die from heart disease.
  • It kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Heart disease claims the life of a woman every minute in this country.

Symptoms of heart trouble include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, feeling like you have the flu, pain in your chest, arm or jaw, cough, and shortness of breath. Women with these symptoms should consult with their doctor. Many women chalk-up the symptoms to getting older.

Carol Wolff, a busy mom of four, had a faulty mitral valve and recently underwent open heart surgery to fix it. She had all the classic symptoms that something was wrong with their heart, but she says at first she was in denial that anything was seriously wrong.

“I just denied it all. I just thought it was my age, and I was getting older or something like that,” says Wolff.

UPMC heart surgeon Dr. Vinay Badhwar says constant and progressive fatigue is a sign of heart failure and women should get their hearts checked as soon as they feel symptoms.

Fixing a problem with the heart, says Badhwar, who specializes in minimally invasive mitral valve repairs, is something that should be done sooner rather than later.


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