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Tip: Heart disease factors differ in men and women

Doctors are beginning to realize that men and women face different risk factors for heart disease.

Harvard Medical School's HEALTHbeat newsletter says that in men, high levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol (above 130 mg/dL) put them at high risk. But a woman's risk is raised when her level of HDL "good" cholesterol is less than 50 mg/dL. High levels of triglycerides (more than 150 mg/dL) indicate a greater risk of heart disease for women than men.

Women and men also sometimes display different symptoms of an incipient heart attack. For men, it's often chest pain, which gets them immediate attention. But women's symptoms are more subtle: Harvard says a woman suffering heart disease may exhibit "unconventional symptoms" such as fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea.

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