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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — You may have noticed a lot of people wearing red Friday. It is not just one big coincidence.

It is to raise awareness for women’s heart health and “Go Red for Women” Day.

Pamela Africk is a heart attack survivor.

“I started to feel like I had really bad gas pains between my shoulder blades,” Africk explained. “I was like ‘What’s going on?’ About 10 minutes later, I started to really not feel right. My heart was racing.”

Africk didn’t hesitate to go straight to a local hospital. Her quick thinking likely saved her life.

Dr. Kenneth Zelnick is the Medical Director of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at Broward Health Medical Center and is currently working with Africk.

“There’s an increasing focus on heart health in women. We’ve made great strides in the last decade of recognizing the in women cardiovascular disease is the leading cause and we’re taking steps toward preventing that,” Dr. Zelnick said.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year — more than all cancers combined.

Dr. Zelnick says women, and men, can lower their risk by making some simple changes.

“One of the things we have control of is our diet,” the cardiologist explained. “Making good dietary decisions is something we can incorporate into our everyday life.”

Africk says she has cut dairy, quit smoking and started exercising daily.

In addition, she is using her second chance at life to help others walking a similar path.

She founded a local chapter of a support group called Mended Hearts, where survivors help new heart disease patients navigate treatment, recovery and rehabilitation.

“It’s different. Doctors are awesome. Doctors are great. But it’s different to talk to somebody who’s been through what you’ve been through prior to leaving the hospital,” Africk said.

Pamela and her “Africk Family Foundation” are hosting a Spin-A-Thon on February 9 to benefit Broward Health Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program.

CLICK HERE for information on how you can take part.

Lauren Pastrana

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