More than one out of three women in the United States are living with cardiovascular disease – and most of them don’t even know it.
That’s why, in an unlikely partnership, cardiologists and obstetrician-gynecologists in Raleigh, N.C., are teaming up to help saves.
“More women will die of cardiac disease than breast, ovarian and colon (cancers) combined,” Dr. Dawan Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Blue Ridge OB/GYN Associates in Raleigh, N.C., told FoxNews.com.
Linda Eaton, 66, went to see her gynecologist for an annual exam and found herself in a cardiologist’s office just hours later, having stents put in her arteries.
“I was going to have a heart attack, and I was going to die,” Eaton said. “I had no symptoms that I knew of.”
Eaton said she never went to the doctor, but when she did, it was to see her gynecologist. So, when Gunter decided screen Eaton for cardiovascular disease at the routine visit, it may have saved her life.
Luckily for Eaton, Gunter had been working with a local cardiologist, Dr. Kevin Campbell, who was partnering with area gynecologists to educate them on the importance of screening for signs of cardiovascular disease in their patients.
“OB-GYNs are the primary care provider for lots of women,” Campbell told FoxNews.com. “We find that so many women who see only OB-GYNs are never screened or referred for evaluation for a coronary disease. So, that’s why we think it’s critically important that two rather dichotomous specialties to partner in order to improve women’s health here in the U.S.”
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Early signs for cardiovascular disease in women can be hard to detect and can include anxiety, shortness of breath, a feeling of indigestion – and even flu-like symptoms – such as weakness, fatigue and nausea.
If you have any of these symptoms, and/or risk factors, like smoking and diabetes – it’s important to see your doctor.
“I was unaware that all of those could be symptoms until it happened to me,” Eaton said. “I’m here because I was saved by two men (who) took the time to send me (to) an EKG … I feel like I sort of have a charmed life now, because of that.”
And, you don’t need a cardiologist to speak to someone about your heart.
“We’ve been able to identify women who probably would have had a heart attack within a month or so of seeing us,” Campbell said. “ We were able to find them early because of the efforts of the OB-GYNs.”
Mary Quinn O'Connor is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the Junior Reporters Program here.