MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- February is heart month and a Memphis woman is telling others not to ignore the warning signs of heart trouble.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women -- causing one in three deaths every year.
The most common heart attack symptom in women is pain or discomfort in the the chest, but it isn't always severe.
Mary Riordan says she gave up cigarettes four years ago, had recently lost twenty pounds and was eating healthier.
She says when she started feeling pain in her chest she thought it was heartache cause by the recent death of her boyfriend.
She told her podiatrist about the pain and said it probably saved her life.
"My main artery was 100% blocked and my other three were 80%, 70%, 60%. So, I was a walking time bomb," said Riordan.
Cardiologists say women need to know their risk factors, family history and the warning signs of a heart attack.
"Many men and women have very similar symptoms, but then women may have other symptoms than what men may experience. Women may have more shortness of breath, they may have more back discomfort and that's a little atypical for men," said UT Methodist Cardiologist Dr. Stevan Himmelstein.
Doctors say women also need avoid tobacco products, exercise regularly, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight.