When to See a Doctor


Every woman should see their primary care doctor for regular exams and screenings. Part of that annual appointment should be an honest discussion about heart disease and your personal risk factors.

In addition, if you have one or more of the following warning signs or risk factors, you should see a cardiologist to further assess your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Chest Discomfort

While chest pain has many potential causes such as heartburn, it should be investigated by a physician to completely rule out heart-related problems.

You are a Smoker

Whether you are currently a smoker or were in the past, you have an increased risk of heart disease. 

High Blood Pressure

When blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, the arteries can become damaged or narrowed.

Diabetes

Elevated blood glucose levels in diabetics can not only damage blood vessels, but also the nerves that control the heart. 

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is linked directly to blocked or narrowed arteries.

Family History

Having a first-degree relative who experienced heart disease increases the odds that you will as well. 

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition in which an expectant mother develops high blood pressure. The condition has been linked to a fourfold increase in the risk of heart failure later in life.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is hallmarked by inflammation, a major threat to the heart. In the case of periodontitis, harmful bacteria is also produced. When this bacteria makes its way into the blood stream, the resulting inflammation can occur in other parts of the body.

Leg Pains or Foot Swelling

Leg pain could be a sign of blockages in the legs caused by peripheral artery disease. Swelling of the ankles and/or feet can lead to leg ulcers or blood clots.

Take the Next Step

If you think you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease, take our online heart health assessment. Or to find a cardiology specialist near you, use our Find a Doctor tool.