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Why women should not ignore their hearts

Women shouldn't ignore heart health while taking care of others (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Many women are caught up balancing work, family and home life. While doing so, many of them ignore their heart.

Jennie Wright is building muscle strength. It's exercise for her heart after a hard lesson for the mother and grandmother. "Women always find a way to put themselves last."

Jennie's heart health troubles date back to the 90s. "I would be out taking walks and stuff and my face would get real flush get real short of breath."

A decade later, she had her first stent. Two more followed. She put off cardio rehab until after a single bypass. "I was very busy and I felt like I had to take care of all that first and then I would take care of me and I never found the time."

Cardiologist Laxmi Mehta says women tend to neglect their own health. "It can be a barrier for both genders but women struggle a little bit more with that whole family role dynamic."

Dr. Mehta says women should find the right support even if there are challenges, especially when it comes to your heart. "So, if you want to see your children's wedding and things like that I try to give them a little bit of an emotional nudge to help them see there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

Jennie was halfway through when she quit cardiac rehab after her bypass but she ended up back in her doctor's office where she got some blunt news. "You either go back to cardiac rehab unless you want to die early."

Dr. Mehta says women should be proactive about symptoms not just recovery. "If they ignore their heart, you can ignore preventive things like if you have high blood pressure getting it taken care of or high cholesterol getting that taken care of."

At 64 years old, Jennie's is staying on track for her granddaughter. "For her sake, I do this and I was looking at it backwards before for her sake I'm not doing it and I was wrong."

Dr. Mehta says some excuses include transportation or time commitments. She says women should try to adjust their scheduled to fit in appointments to be able to live a healthier life.

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