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DR. KATHY MAGLIATO: Do you know why more women than men die of heart disease?

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Why do more women than men die of heart disease?

The two main reasons are that:

1. Women are just not aware that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Thus, they fail to recognize the symptoms of heart disease and they fail to seek treatment. Women are so busy taking care of everyone around them, that they forget to take care of themselves. We have done such a great job with breast cancer awareness that women are now recognizing the symptoms of breast cancer, performing monthly self-exams and routinely getting mammograms. This has lead to women being diagnosed early with breast cancer when the disease may be more effectively treated. We MUST do the same awareness campaign for heart disease so that we can detect heart disease earlier when it is most treatable.

2. Women with heart disease present differently than men. Men with heart disease experience crushing chest pain beneath the breastbone (sternum) known as angina. Most women don’t experience ANY angina. The most common symptom of women with heart disease is fatigue. They also have more subtle symptoms such as jaw pain, arm pain, indigestion/heart burn. These symptoms often lead to the wrong diagnosis. For example: a women who is having jaw pain may mistake it for a toothache and see a dentist, a woman with indigestion may get diagnosed with gallbladder disease when, in fact, she has heart disease.

BIO: Dr. Kathy Magliato

Kathy Magliato, M.D. is one of the few female cardiothoracic surgeons in the world. Receiving her initial medical training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Magliato completed advanced training in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Heart and Lung Transplantation, and Artificial Heart Devices at the University of Michigan Medical Center, in Ann Arbor, Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is a well published researcher, a member of many professional societies, a recipient of numerous regional and national awards, a sought after lecturer and a passionate promoter of cardiac health for women.

Magliato joined the Saint John’s medical staff in June as Director of Women’s Cardiac Surgical Services. “I am delighted and excited to be a part of Saint John’s, which has some of the best cardiac surgery results in the nation” says Magliato. “But more than anything else, I am taken by the unique culture at this health center. There’s an intangible yet palpable element here— a nurturing kindness you feel when you walk through the door.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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