According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. February is Heart Health Month, and on Feb. 5, Lakeview Regional Medical Center employees, physicians and volunteers will unite by wearing red to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women.

"Most people relate a heart attack to someone clutching at their chest and gasping for air," said Dr. Adriana Nagy, Lakeview Regional cardiologist. "But for women, the symptoms can often be very different — pain in the jaw, neck or back, or a feeling of indigestion, nausea or lightheadedness. Many of these symptoms are often overlooked, but the 'silent' heart attack is just as dangerous as an obvious one."

Risk factors for women differ from men, and while some factors cannot be controlled, others can. Risk factors that cannot be controlled are age, sex, family history of heart disease, and race. Risk factors that can be controlled include blood pressure, cigarette smoking, cholesterol, activity and exercise, weight, and type 2 diabetes. "The most important things for women are to be aware of your risks, listen to your body, and talk to your doctor if something doesn't feel right," Dr. Nagy said.

"We urge the community to join us in wearing red on Feb. 5 to call attention to cardiovascular disease," said Hiral Patel, Lakeview Regional CEO. "Now is the time to raise awareness and start the important conversations about women and heart disease. It's not just a problem for older women — it can affect women at any age."

Lakeview Regional offers a free heart health risk assessment tool online that provides more information about cardiovascular issues, calculates the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and prioritizes the most harmful risk factors. Upon completing the short assessment, a personalized, multi-paged report summarizing risk factors and recommended next steps is sent via email. Find out more specific information on heart issues in women.