Heart disease kills more women than men each year. It's more deadly than all forms of cancers combined, and the latest counts show it affects 43 million American women.
But every day, researchers study more ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. Here are three recent findings:
* Avoid yo-yo dieting. Shedding extra pounds is great for your heart's health, but gaining back even a few might raise the risk for cardiovascular disease in older women, a small study suggests.
* Know the signs of heart attack. Chest pain is a telltale symptom, yet women experiencing it are more likely than men to wait more than a day to seek medical care, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions. If you experience any of the following, don't wait more than five minutes before calling for help: uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, or even your back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort); breaking out in a cold sweat; and feeling lightheaded.
* Reconsider hormone therapy. Research suggests that women who start hormone replacement therapy in early stages of menopause may have less risk of heart attack, heart failure or premature death, with no increased risk of cancer or stroke .
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