Tips for helping women reduce their risk of heart disease

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Sinclair Broadcast Group

February is Heart Health Month and women need to pay extra attention.

Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.

So, here are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk.

“I feel great because I can actually now breathe,” said Megan Carpenter. “It's been almost two years since I've been able to take a full deep breath and not feel restricted.”

When Carpenter felt tired and out of breath all the time, doctors screened her heart, found what was wrong, and together they worked to fix it.

"Anyone with a heart is at risk for heart disease,” Cardiac Specialist Viet Le said.

Le said 300,000 women die every year from heart events.

He said it can be confusing because instead of crushing chest pain, in women the sign might be fatigue or nausea.

“Even just like going up the steps some days when I was really sick, it felt like such a chore,” Macey Wright, the American Heart Association spokespatient said.

Wright's heart was dying. At 14, she got a new one. A transplant. And she knows we all need to take care of our hearts.

“You know, every time we go to the hospital with my family, it’s like ‘oh let’s take the elevator.’ I say no it’s only a couple of flights. Let’s take the stairs. It’s just good for you,” Wright said.

She preaches the seven simple steps the AHA recommends to reduce your risk.

Number one: get screened, and two: manage any blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar concerns.

"The things you can do on your own are really lifestyle changes." Said Li.

He said eat better. More vegetables, less fats and sugars will help you maintain proper weight.

And move more. Even just a brisk ten minute walk every day helps your heart.

“Exercise helps. It reduces the risk of breast cancer. It reduces the risk of heart disease, and it just makes you feel better,” Li said.

And the worst thing for your heart is smoking.

"If you're smoking, stop. and if you haven't, don't start. These kind of things will help you to reduce your risk,” Li said.

These investments in your heart now will let you reap the benefits for years.