Wear Red Day raises awareness about heart disease

February 4, 2011 5:43:15 PM PST
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer among women. Friday, a lot of women were wearing red to raise awareness about the often deadly disease.

Jeannie Lynch is an award winning broadcast journalist. She was on vacation in 2009 when she felt pressure on her chest. She ignored it until she got home and it hit her again.

"I went on to the hospital, was tested and had three major arteries acculturated closing up 95 percent, Lynch said.

When it comes to women and heart disease, the numbers are staggering -- one in three will die from heart disease, compared to one in 30 for breast cancer.

The American Heart Association is trying to get out the message with its national Wear Red Day.

"We want woman to be aware of their risk factors, know you cholesterol numbers, know your blood pressure numbers," heart disease survivor Sandra Tremulis said.

Genetics and family history are risk factors women cannot control, but other contributors to heart disease include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inactivity, excess weight and diabetes. Cardiologists warn the signs of heart trouble in women are much more subtle than for men.

"They can have neck pain, they can have jaw pain, they can have just arm pain on this side or elbow pain," Dr. Anjali Gulati said.

For Tremulis it was fatigue; for Lynch it felt like a weight on her chest.

After emergency surgery and five stents, the KGO Radio reporter is on several medications and taking the necessary precautions.

"The doctors were very supportive but they were also very honest and said, 'You would have been dead if you didn't come into the hospital when you did,'" Lynch said.

Doctors say many forms of heart disease are preventable or treatable.