On Wear Red Day, Nacogdoches cardiologist talks about No. 1 killer of women

Watch KTRE news at 6 p.m. every weekday.
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 3:13 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2022 at 9:34 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KLTV) - Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, according to the CDC.

So, something like Friday’s National Wear Red Day can make a difference.

It increases awareness.

However, not everyone gets the message.

Despite an increase in awareness over the past decades, only about half of women recognize that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.

“Twenty-five percent of the women die from heart disease,” warned Nacogdoches cardiologist Dr. Vijaya Pokala.

He said two-thirds of hearts attacks among women happen without any symptoms.

Retired school principal Emily Harris’ first sign of heart trouble followed a fun-filled Galveston vacation in late August.

“Just out of the blue that evening when I got home. I had a wonderful ride home and everything. I just started feeling very dizzy and everything,” Harris recalled. “Anyhow, it was all taken care of.”

Pokala placed a stent in a blocked artery and counts Mrs. Harris as a lucky patient.

He encourages all women to know their risk of heart disease before trouble arises.

“Know your numbers. Know your cholesterol. What is it doing? What is your bad cholesterol? Know your body. That means do you have any other problems like diabetes, hypertension?”

He recommends a healthy diet, a body mass index of 25 or less, and 30 minutes of exercise each day as tools for reducing heart disease.

Managing risk factors leads to a healthier life, which is exactly Harris’ goal.

“I’ll be 93 on Sunday,” Harris said with a big smile.

Copyright 2022 KLTV. All rights reserved.