Gender affects development of heart disease

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POSTED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 6:23pm

UPDATED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 9:37am

"Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it's also the most preventable," said Valley Baptist Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Charles F. Mild.

...which tends to leave many people wondering why something so preventable can eventually become aggressive or even fatal.

But according to cardiologist Charles Mild, heart disease manifests differently in both men and women. While men may experience the typical crushing chest pains and breath shortages, women are different.

"Women are different in a lot of ways," said Mild. "Their response to pain is different, and their response to having a heart attack is different. Women generally will report an aching sensation, back pain. They don't feel right, some shortness of breath. They don't have the typical systems of heart disease.

But the problem is that the heart may be calling out for help and some women, like Georgiana Matz, may not even realize they have a cardiac issue.

In 1996, Matz was walking on South Padre Island when she suddenly just felt "strange".

"Whatever it was...it made me turn around and walk back to my house and tell my husband that I thought something was wrong," said Matz.

And after a quick trip to the hospital, they found out what:

"Dr. Mild did an angiogram and it turned out in the angiogram that I did have blockage, but not quite enough blockage that at that point in time needed a stint, so for the last 18 years, Dr. Mild's been treating me with medication," said Matz.

Both Dr. Mild and Matz say that there are simple things to do to better your heart's health:

"Exercise, you can eat correctly, you can, just even walking helps," said Matz.

Even if you're feeling stressed or abnormal, you should see your doctor or call 911.

"Time is muscle, that is, the time that your heart spends without blood, is the amount of time that that muscle can actually die and be irretrievable," said Dr. Mild.

Reporting in Harlingen, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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