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Heart Disease #1 Killer Of Women, Yet Many Don't Talk About It

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Heart disease is the number one killer of women but a new survey shows many women and their doctors do not talk about heart health at all.

Tracy Solomon Clark was a mom with a stressful career and figured that was behind her fatigue and shortness of breath.

She never suspected she had an unhealthy heart and would eventually need double bypass surgery.

"It got real, real when 'I'm sorry, we're gonna have to cut your chest open' and it became very, very frightening and I'm suddenly realizing that I'm facing death," said Clark.

The 51-year-old said she never discussed heart health with her doctor and turns out she's not alone.

According to a new survey in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, only 35% of primary care physicians said they talk about heart health during exams with female patients even though heart disease is the number one killer of women.

"It kills more women than all cancers combined," said Dr. Noel Bairey Merz with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Dr. Merz led the study that also revealed many women are hesitant to get check-ups.

About 60% of women admit putting off doctor appointments. About 45% said they cancel or postpone  checkups because they want to lose weight first.

"Women are more objectified. Women are more judged by their appearance," said Dr. Merz.

Tracey now encourages other women to pay attention to potential symptoms.

"If you have to get a second, third, fourth opinion, do that… if you have to go to the emergency room three times in one day, do that… but listen to your body," said Clark.

Also, make sure you see your doctor regularly.

The Women's Heart Alliance said 80 percent of heart disease and stroke is preventable.


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