"Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women," she continued. "And many, many women don't know that. ... One reason more women than men die of heart attacks in the U.S. is because women won't go straight to the hospital. They would send their husbands to the emergency room, but they always think, 'Oh, if I go lie down, I'll be better in a few minutes.' And they don't."
Just as she did while her husband was in office, Bush plans to work closely with international organizations to spread women's health education around the globe. She has started working in Dallas with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the breast cancer foundation founded by Nancy Brinker in 1982.
"They really are making sure that women everywhere know what the pink ribbon stands for and that women aren't embarrassed to get the treatment they need or to do the breast self-exams or get the mammograms, because there are still many parts of the world where breast wouldn't be spoken about. And women wouldn't seek the kind of medical treatment they should, if they found a lump in their breast," she said.
Bush's dedication to the cause of women's health has been recently honored by Texas Tech University, which named its women's health institute after her, something she said she made her "very proud."
"There are a lot of other ways that we, that the medical profession can be more effective in treating women. And that's the kind of research they're going to be doing, which is local, because they'll be treating west Texas women. But it's international in its scope, in the hopes that they will be able to make some breakthroughs in research that will help everybody," she said.
But when she's not pushing for women's health education, Bush said she enjoys living a quieter life, out of the White House spotlight where neighbors can visit and her husband can catch a catnap in a recently purchased hammock.
"I guess you just get used to things, because I didn't realize how stressful those years were until I wasn't stressed anymore. And, you know, there's been a certain relief that comes with leaving that kind of very public life and going back to a much more normal, private life. I really appreciate every single minute that I had the chance to live there and be at the White House," she said.
"But also, it's nice to be home."