FORT WORTH, TX (CBSMiami) – A woman dies of cardiovascular disease every 80 seconds in the U.S.
To bring awareness to the leading cause of death to women, the American Heart Association asked women to wear red on Friday.
Tara Robinson, 40, was told she was too young to have a heart attack, but she did.
“I was hot, I was clammy. It was just crazy. I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know what,” said Robinson.
For months she complained of symptoms including numbness in her left arm, tightness in her neck, nausea, and a burning in her chest. Tests were negative and the warning signs were dismissed because of her age.
“We chalked it up to stress,” she said.
Several weeks later, Robinson was back in the emergency room after collapsing and doctors discovered she was having a massive heart attack. An exam of her heart showed that she’s had two heart attacks before.
“I think I went into a state of shock or disbelief that this was happening to me, I’ve always been so healthy,” said Robinson.
“When women have heart disease it might not be that typical, elephant sitting on the chest pressure that we hear often in men. in fact in women the symptoms might be more subtle,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum.
Steinbaum is a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, She said recognizing the warning signs and risk factors are key.
“Prevention is so critical, and we know that 80% of the time heart disease is preventable in women. It’s about lifestyle choices. Your diet, exercise, managing your stress, and getting your numbers to goal – that’s blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and your weight,” she said.
Robinson, now 43, has changed her outlook on life.
“We have to start as women to put ourselves first and make a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle,” she said.
She’s eating healthy and exercising for 30 minutes every day. Cardiovascular diseases affect about 44 million women in the U.S.