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National Wear Red Day Raises Awareness Of Heart Disease In Women

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Heart attack survivors and doctors stood side by side in the shape of a heart at Broward Health Medical Center on this very important day for all women - National Wear Red Day.

"It's a day to educate women and tap them on the shoulder and say we need to do better, we need to do more, and women need to take care of themselves and listen to their bodies," said heart attack survivor Pam Africk.

Eight years ago, Africk had what is called a "widow's heart attack," where one of her arteries was completely blocked and she went into cardiac arrest twice.

"I started to feel a little off, I thought I was having a panic attack. I never had one but my heart felt like it was fluttering and I was getting pain between my shoulder blades," said Africk.

Although she said her symptoms were not the typical ones she has heard of in the event of a heart attack, she rushed to the hospital and made it just in time.

"I was lucky enough, I got a stent and made it through that process. After that it changed my life and made a difference," said Africk.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths. Cardiovascular disease kills more women than cancer and 45 percent of women over the age of 20 are living with this condition.

Heart disease is also the number one killer of new moms and is responsible for one-third of maternal deaths, 10-20 percent of women have health issues during pregnancy. Sadly only 44 percent of women recognize cardiovascular disease as the greatest health threat.

"Make sure you know your cholesterol numbers, high blood pressure number, your weight, also blood sugar, these are things that are important to be preventative," said Dr. Yordanka Reyna with Broward Health.

These are simple tips that can save your life.

"It is important that you are aware and listen to the body because anything could be a sign of a symptom of heart disease, so having a healthy lifestyle and doing all the right things does not mean you are not going to experience a heart attack," said Dr. Reyna.

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