'National Wear Red Day' Serves As Reminder Of How Heart Issues Affect Women

Friday, February 5th 2021, 7:36 am
By: CBS News

On this National Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association raises awareness about heart disease and stroke in women. It's the number one killer of women.

The American Heart Association finds one in three women will die from heart disease and racial disparities persist. Black women have more risk factors, develop cardiovascular disease earlier, and have higher death rates compared to White women. 

New York City cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum says knowing your numbers, like body mass index, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol is key.

"80% of the time, heart disease is preventable. There is nothing more empowering than that statistic," Dr. Steinbaum said.

Professional dancer Megan Corbin lives a pretty healthy lifestyle.

"I work out a lot. I eat healthy," Corbin said.

But last summer, the 30-year-old's health took an unexpected turn when she woke up with what felt like bad indigestion. 

"It felt like an intense pressure from gas, so I tried to deal with it by myself, not knowing blood was not getting to my heart. So, once I got to the hospital, they told me part of my heart had died," Corbin said.

Corbin suffered a heart attack, which can present much differently for women, according to Dr. Steinbaum.

"The symptoms are not often that crushing chest pain that we hear about. It might be more subtle, like shortness of breath, jaw pain, back pain, nausea," Dr. Steinbaum said.

"They did find my blood pressure was pretty high and my cholesterol levels were elevated,” Corbin said.

She takes medication to control her numbers and is spreading the word to women to be aware of the risk factors and take care of their hearts.

Only one in five American women believe heart disease is her greatest health threat, which is why the American Heart Association is getting the word out on how to prevent it.