STUDY: Women unaware of common heart disease risks - Montgomery Alabama news.

STUDY: Women unaware of common heart disease risks

(Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo) (Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo)

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cigarette smoking clearly raise the risk for heart disease for us all but women can have extra heart risks that they may not know about.

Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and since it's cured when the baby is born, women generally don't think about it ever again. But maybe they should. It's a risk factor for heart disease; a fact lost of many women surveyed recently.

"The majority of women did not know, for example, that if they had had high pressure or diabetes during a pregnancy which then resolved, put them at subsequent risk later in life for heart disease," said Dr. Noel Bairey Merz at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

Merz led the study of 1,000 women. She says women have specific heart risk factors.

"Women's and men's hearts are somewhat different, as much as 20 percent difference."

Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, like preeclampsia, raise a woman's risk for heart disease. Also, premature menopause and even autoimmune disorders like lupus do too.

Experts say that if you've experienced any of these you may want to ask your doctor for a heart check-up.

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News/NBC. All rights reserved.

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