Hi, I’m Dr. Alexander Salerno and I’m here today to talk about women and heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in this country. One-in-three African-American women die from heart disease versus one-in-thirty-three African-American women die from breast cancer. As a medical community, we’re doing a poorer job in recognizing, protecting and treating women over the age of 50, compared to men over the age of 50, when it comes to heart disease.

So risk factors for heart disease in women include genetics, the concept that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Number two, diabetes. Number three, chronic kidney disease, which affects one in nine americans. Number four, hypertension and hypertensive heart disease. And finally, obesity.

So how do we reduce this risk?

As my father used to say, a pound of prevention is better than a ton of treatment. See your physician, check your blood pressure, understand your cholesterol, look at your waistline and look at your diet. What you put in your body counts.

Number two, a baby aspirin a day keeps the cardiologist away. And number three, drugs like statins, which reduce not only cholesterol, but inflammation proteins, that are the building blocks to heart disease and cardiovascular events.

So what are the next steps? Ladies, you have to own it. Take control. Ask the right questions.

Knowledge is power. Until you know the facts can’t make a difference.