Having endometriosis can mean other health issues lag closely behind. Marina Kvaskoff, PhD, writes at Endometriosis.org: "In a recent comprehensive review we suggest that endometriosis may be associated with a higher risk of several chronic diseases." While the list of illnesses following that is lengthy, heart disease is what most stood out to me. For the past few years, I've experienced difficulty breathing, chest pains, palpitations, and lightheadedness daily. Countless doctor's appointments and scans come back with nothing to raise concern besides mild tricuspid valve regurgitation, which means a valve does not properly close, allowing blood to flow back up into the chamber. To me, that doesn’t sound normal and is something I would consider alarming. But doctors say they see it all the time. As someone with endometriosis, I am a bit more cautious with everything doctors find on tests, especially when it comes to the heart. While that finding may not yet be alarming, I still have symptoms. I still do not feel right and will continue to research, find other opinions, and monitor myself. Why the increased risk of heart disease? A study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes that examines the link between endometriosis and coronary heart disease found that women 40 or younger are at a heightened risk for heart disease. This includes the risks of heart attack, chest pain, and blocked arteries. According to the 2016 "American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report," surgical treatments like uterus removal may partly be the cause of the increased rate of heart disease. Additionally, surgically-induced menopause before natural menopause may be a contributing factor. Stacey Missmer, who researches reproductive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, pointed out that women with endometriosis tend to have a poor lipid profile. This means that patients have a high amount of bad cholesterol and a low amount of good cholesterol. A high amount of stress comes with that. Both factors tie into heart disease risk. Although studies say these factors cause a high risk of heart disease, other studies suggest the contrary. Prevention tips It is important that you take care of yourself, whether you have endometriosis or not. There are ways to lessen your risk of heart disease. These include diet and eating healthy fats, low carbs, and healthy proteins. It's also helpful to stay active (with at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day) and to maintain a healthy weight. It is important to know and recognize the symptoms of heart disease. A few symptoms to watch for are shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, sweating, and nausea. Keep in mind that symptoms can suggest other underlying illnesses or diseases. Have routine checks done, especially if you feel anything out of the ordinary. Because of my endometriosis and heart symptoms, I do not want to scare myself into thinking I will develop heart disease. Instead, I will continue to make healthy lifestyle choices and make sure I continue routine checkups. You can follow my journey at lifewithkimberli. *** Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.