Health Officials raise awareness of women's heart health
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Heart disease can often be reversed through exercise.
Cathe Friedrich (flikr.com)

While many believe heart disease is mainly a concern for men, it is the number one killer of women in the United States. For women, it's especially important to know the signs of heart trouble, as they can be different from men's. 

Dr. Debbie Minor is with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She says 70% of premature early heart disease is preventable - even in hereditary cases. 

"Sometimes there's a genetic predisposition but if I maintain a normal weight, eat healthy, and remain active, then in my lifetime, it may not present itself, so it may not be expressed in me," says Minor. 

Although classic chest pain is a common symptom for both men and women, not all women will feel it.  
Women may have a sensation in their neck or jaw, along with other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. 

Valeria Hawkins - whose father experienced heart disease - was diagnosed with high blood pressure and a leaky heart valve over a year ago. She says as an African-American woman, she didn't hesitate to see her cardiologist after she had been more tired than normal.

"After the first initial test, they thought that it was really bad. So, they did another test, and they found out it wasn't as severe, and through diet and exercise it could be reversed. Through that, I started working out. After a year of doing that, my prognosis changed," Hawkins says. 

According to the State Department of Health, African-American women are more likely to die of heart disease, and at younger ages, than White women. They encourage all people to get sleep, eat healthier, and get checked.