February marks the beginning of American Heart Month, a crucial period dedicated to shedding light on cardiovascular health in women. Contrary to a widespread misconception, heart disease is not exclusive to men, emphasizes Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Rachel Cady, M.D. She says a staggering 90 percent of women grapple with at least one primary risk factor for heart disease. These risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, a family history of heart disease, smoking, insufficient physical activity, diabetes, elevated LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Additional contributors include Rheumatoid arthritis, a history of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or preeclampsia during pregnancy, early menopause, and depression. Dr. Cady notes that while symptoms of heart disease in women may manifest more subtly compared to men, they often experience a broader range of indications, including indigestion, shoulder/arm/back pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and fatigue. In the quest to prevent heart disease, she strongly advocates for women to undergo proper screening and diligently follow through on recommended interventions. Emphasizing the pivotal role of lifestyle choices, whether it involves adopting a weight loss strategy, quitting smoking, managing diabetes, implementing a low-sodium diet, or initiating medications for blood pressure and cholesterol reduction, the commitment to a heart-healthy lifestyle is the key to mitigating the risks associated with heart disease.