Karen Lombardi takes her dog, Peppa, on daily walks and hikes on weekends. She considers herself lucky because many women with heart disease never get an accurate diagnosis.

Melanie Stengel / C-HIT.ORG

Karen Lombardi, a school instructional coach, had just taken an unruly child out of a classroom when she felt severe chest pains.

She drove to Yale New Haven Hospital, sweating profusely and hyperventilating, and was diagnosed with a heart attack.

Five weeks later, she was back in the hospital with more chest pains.

It was another four months before Lombardi, 61, learned the cause of her pain, received effective treatment and returned to active exercise.

Yale New Haven doctors presented a paper in April to the American College of Cardiology reporting a median time of more than six years

In 2020, one in five female deaths in the country were due to heart disease,