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Listen to your heart! Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. This February, celebrate American Heart Month by checking your numbers—from blood pressure to body mass index (BMI)—as these are heart disease risk factors that you can treat or control.

In honor of American Heart Month, interventional cardiologist Dr. Robert E. Foster shares the importance of heart health for women

Know Your Risk

"The biggest myth is that it's a man's disease," says Dr. Foster. "Heart disease actually kills more women than men, because women's vessels are smaller. Even the tiniest amount of plaque buildup is a serious problem in a very small vessel."

Recognize the Symptoms

"Women often wait longer to see a physician because they don't get the typical warning signs," he says. While chest tightness may signal heart attacks in men, women often experience sharp pain and breathlessness that people generally don't associate with the heart.

Be Proactive

Once women turn 40, they should consider getting a cardiac calcium score. "We scan your heart to see if you have any hardening of your arteries. It's better to find out at 40 that there might be a risk than at 60, once you've had a heart attack," says Dr. Foster.

Robbie Caponetto

Pulse Check

Monitor your heart rate, listen to music, and track your route on Fitbit's newest water-resistant smartwatch. Fitbit Versa, $200; fitbit.com