Women recommended to start regular heart screenings at age 20

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DENVER -- February is American Heart Month.  As part of our “2 Your Health” initiative, we’ve teamed up with the American Heart Association to help you assess your risk of heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends women start getting regular heart screenings at age 20. But a national survey out of Orlando Health found only eight percent of women knew to start that young.

Lori Pace, a Denver realtor, wishes she had started at that age.

The mother of two has high blood pressure, but didn’t know it when she was younger. “My daughter ended up having a lot of complications when she was born and it was completely avoidable had I been aware of where my blood pressure was,” Pace said.

Lori is not alone. A new study shows that women don’t start regular heart screenings until their 30s, which is a full decade after screenings should begin.  “Generally people do wait too long,” said Dr. Jennifer Dorosz, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente.

She said screenings should include cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index and blood pressure. “Those numbers can tell you how aggressive you need to be to take care of yourself, and to prevent future problems,” Dr. Dorosz said.

Lori Pace knows her numbers, and she encourages other women to find out theirs. “If you don`t know your numbers, you don`t know how to make it better, and you don`t know how to adjust your life,” Pace said.