Being heart smart

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By Carolyn Risner

February may have come and gone, but the facts remain: every month should be Heart Month-especially if you're a woman.

Television commercials, print ads and even soap operas got in on the month-long message that women need to be more aware of their hearts.

And that's not the figurative heart that we give away on Valentine's Day.

Heart disease is now the leading cause of death among women in this country.

The reason? It's unclear.

Perhaps it's because women manifest completely different symptoms as men-symptoms that often go unnoticed because we chalk them up to the everyday strain of life.

We feel a pain in our backs and think it's because we've carried a toddler on our hip most of the day or sat too long at our computer.

Our jaws ache and we reason it's because we're eating the inferior grade of steak we bought to save money in our tight household budgets.

There may not be heaviness in the chest or shooting pain down our left arm.

And we go on while this silent, but deadly, disease wages battle in our chests.

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