Take time to talk about your ticker

National Heart Month in February helps raise awareness of heart disease.

No one knows your body better than you. And when there's an issue, your body tells you there's a problem ... you just have to know how to read the signs.

National Heart Month in February helps raise awareness of heart disease.

And pay attention because heart disease affects women differently than men.

It's the number one killer of men and women in the United States. It's heart disease.

"Heart disease is very preventable," Dr. Stilianos Efstratiadis said.

Dr. Efstratiadis is a board certified Cardiologist at Quincy Medical Group. He says a heart month is a great idea because it gets people thinking about their heart, familiarizing themselves with the symptoms, and in general just educating themselves.

"You start feeling shortness of breath, lack of energy, chest discomfort, arm pain, jaw pain, back pain," he said.

Dr. E says if you have any of those symptoms, you should see your family doctor. He says if it's a heart attack, those symptoms will be very evident, and you should call 911. If the symptoms are less severe, your doctor can give you a couple of tests to see if what you have is indeed heart disease.

"We've had patients who had heart burn, and they were having a heart attack. We've had patients who've had back pain, and they were having a heart attack ... or arm pain. Things that can happen to anybody, but if it's something persistent, something that keeps happening, and something constant ..." he said ... s

ee your doctor.

"You're not going to die from the reflux. You're not going to die from the back. You're not going to die from the shoulder, but you can die from the heart.

Remember, when it comes to heart disease, women can have atypical symptoms.

Click here to learn more about those symptoms.

"Women may have fatigue, lack of energy, shortness of breath. Things that may make it even more difficult to distinguish between the lungs, the GI, and just weather changes," Dr. E said.

He recommends getting checked above age 30 if you have a family history, and if you're over 40, he says you should have a stress test with your family doctor.

Dr. E also recommends doing what you can to prevent developing heart disease.

That includes moderate exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables and staying away from red meat and fried foods.