SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- When it comes to heart disease, women are not only at higher risk, but a lot of times the warning signs are misdiagnosed.

Doctor Mark Menolascino says this happens because medical studies are done with men in mind.

[WATCH: Scottsdale doctor says heart disease in women is under diagnosed]

Men's symptoms are typically things like chest pain and a feeling of pressure.

For women those symptoms are usually things like nausea, heartburn and a feeling of anxiety or heart palpitations.

He had some shocking facts when it comes to women and heart health.

"I think heart health for women, we've just missed the boat. Half the women who have heart disease have no idea that they do," he said. "Two of three of your friends will die of heart attack or stroke and the first warning sign in some of them is sudden death. They don't get a second chance."

He said it's important to ask the right questions when you see your doctor and don't let cholesterol be your only indication of heart health.

He also said to remember you are in control of your health.

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"The beautiful thing in medicine right now is this thing called epi-genetics," he explained. "You're not just doomed to be your parents or your grandparents. You have the power in your lifestyle choices to turn on the good genes and turn off the bad genes and that power is at the end of your fork."

Other critical factors include exercise, stress management and social happiness.

Dr. Menolascino is taking patients at his new Scottsdale clinic. Visit getwellscottsdale.com for more information.

Heidi Goitia is the traffic reporter and fill-in anchor for CBS 5 This Morning weekdays from 4:30-7am.
 
 


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