Cardiovascular, or heart, disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and Europe. More American women die of heart disease than any other illness, and one out of two women will develop heart and vascular disease during their lifetime.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, untreated diabetes, obesity, stress and lack of regular exercise.
Warning signs of a heart attack are often more difficult to detect in women than in men. "Fifty percent [of women] don't have chest pain," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "This is why, a lot of times, it's overlooked in women. The number one symptom for women is fatigue.
"This is a silent killer," Dr. Lisa continues. "You have to listen to your body."
Typical Heart Attack Symptoms
• Chest pain
• Upper body pain
• Shortness of breath
• Stomach pain
• Cold sweats
Overlooked Heart Attack Symptoms
• Abdominal pain or nausea
• Neck or jaw pain
Test your heart health knowledge!
• Tips for surviving a heart attack
• Heart attack action plan
Approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke every year, and nearly 137,000 die from one annually. Strokes are the third-largest cause of death in the United States, and occur when one or more blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain either burst or become blocked. As a result, a portion of the brain is deprived of vital oxygen and suffers damage.
Dr. Neil Martin, neurosurgeon and co-director of the UCLA Stroke Center, explains that immediate treatment is vital after a stroke. He shares the FAST test to determine if someone has suffered one.
F: Face — Is their face falling on one side?
A: Arms — Can they lift their arms above their head, or is an arm severely numb or paralyzed?
S: Speech — Is their speech slurred?
T: Time — Time to call 911.
"You can stop a stroke dead in its tracks," Dr. Martin says. "There's only a couple hours during which you can act."
Dr. Martin explains why time is of the essence when treating a stroke victim.
Cancers kill approximately 1,500 men, women and children in the United States every day. E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork demonstrates how cancer develops in the body, and what you can do to prevent it.
Award-winning actor Michael Douglas recently announced he has stage IV throat cancer. Oncologist Dr. Lawrence Piro gives an update on the actor's condition and shares the warning signs to look for.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in diagnosed women. If discovered early, 97 percent of women survive the disease.
Award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, who is celebrating 18 years of being breast cancer-free, joins The Doctors to share how she conquered the disease.
Despite exercising regularly, eating organically and not having a family history of breast cancer, singer/songwriter Margo Rey also developed the disease. "Of course I was sad at first," she says. "But I was really proactive. I was very aggressive, and I wanted to take control.
"It's all about the attitude that you take," Margo continues. "I think it's important to be a good patient. [It] helps the doctors help you. I don't feel sorry for myself. I think that I'm the best person who could have gotten cancer."
Dr. Piro's Breast Cancer Prevention Tips
• Avoid hormone replacement therapy
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Get vitamin D levels checked
• Get more breast cancer prevention and screening tips!
Diabetes is a life-threatening disease that affects people of all ages. The disease occurs when the body does not correctly use or produce enough insulin, causing uncontrolled blood-sugar levels. High glucose levels can damage the kidneys, eyes and heart as well as increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and dehydration. If left unchecked, high blood sugar degrades blood vessels, nerves and organs. There are two categories of the disease; type 1 and type 2.
Kathy, 59, was recently diagnosed as prediabetic, and wants to know if type 2 diabetes is reversible.