Sunday's celebration of Mother's Day is a good reminder for women to put themselves first, especially when it comes to their health. May is also recognized as Women's Health Awareness Month and a local cardiologist has advice on the importance of women putting their health first.

Sometimes it seems like a mom does it all,  the cooking, cleaning, working and raising a family, but sometimes that means she may put herself last. Dr. Jasmin Martinez, a Cardiologist at AHN Saint Vincent explained, "Now is the time to stop taking care of someone else and take care of their own self, knowing your own risk factors, know that we develop our own risk factors, like complications during pregnancy that increase our risk of developing cardiovascular disease."

According to Dr. Martinez, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in women, "Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in women that accounts in one and three deaths every year, it's a fear for mother's daughters, sisters and more."

But what things can women do to prevent cardiovascular disease? Dr. Martinez said it's making small changes in their daily routine like eating healthier and increasing their daily exercise.

Dr. Martinez stressed it's important that women have a good relationship with their doctor about their health and any changes they may experience.
"Follow up with regular doctor, also talk about your heart health and look for risk factors and check for routine labs, those are the kinds of things we can do to prevent cardiovascular disease", said Dr. Martinez.

If women start to notice irregular symptoms, they should seek medical attention. "Stop and take care of yourself, know your own risks. You have to follow up with your doctor, don't downplay your symptoms, if you are having symptoms of discomfort, or shortness of breath, you have to let someone know because you could be having an event and you could downplay it because we can be too busy in life, so it's important to take care of your health", said Dr. Martinez.

Dr. Martinez said it's always important to maintain yearly check-ups with primary care physicians and get routine blood work.