WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s National Wear Red Day, a time to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke in women. We sat down with a heart attack survivor who explains no two heart attacks are the same.
“The heart attack I had was the widow maker. They said I’m lucky to be alive,” said Wanda Minkler.
Almost 11 years ago, Minkler woke up feeling sick.
“Fatigue, I started getting a headache and as the day went on it got worse. The back hurt, upset stomach,” she said.
Minkler brushed off her symptoms and went to bed. It wasn’t until she went to the hospital for a rapid heart beat two weeks later that doctors told her she had a massive heart attack.
Minkler was one of the lucky ones. According to the American Heart Association, one in three women die of heart disease, making it one of the leading causes of death among women.
“It sounds not like a lot when you say 500,000 women die a year of heart disease. But when you say half a million people die every year from heart disease, you need to pay attention. You need the awareness,” said Minkler.
It’s awareness she wishes she had more than a decade ago. So now, she’s working with the American Heart Association and participating in events like Wear Red Day.
It’s a campaign to raise awareness about the effects of heart disease in women, whose heart attacks often go unnoticed.
Why? Those symptoms Minkler listed earlier aren’t what you’d normally associate with a heart attack. But she wants you to know, those symptoms can be normal for you.
“I wish I knew those could be symptoms for a heart attack for a woman. I probably would have gone to the hospital. You see on TV everyone says my arm hurts, my shoulder hurts. It was none of that for me,” she said.
Minkler says no two heart attacks are the same, and for women, it’s important to be aware of that. That’s why she does what she does. But you can get involved too, by wearing red, and visiting GoRedforWomen.org.