Local woman raises awareness of heart disease as part of National Wear Red Day

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 4:10 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Heart disease is the number one killer of women. 7 News speaks with a local woman who knows how scary that can be.

When you’re young, it’s hard to imagine you could have anything wrong with your heart.

Carrie Mangino dismissed some heart flutters as anxiety.

“I either misinterpreted or didn’t really realize the symptoms I was having at first. I kinda brushed them off. You’re 20, you don’t really think you’re going to have a heart attack or something wrong with your heart,” she said.

But there was. At just 20 years old, she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. She was hesitant to get a pacemaker put in until she went into heart failure.

“I was actually pregnant with my eldest daughter and had heart failure in church. I almost died, died in church,” she said.

Then she took the next step.

“That bought me a pacemaker. That was it. I had a pacemaker put in that evening and have been happy ever since,” said Mangino.

It can happen to anyone at any time, which is why the American Heart Association has designated Friday as National Wear Red Day. It’s a day dedicated to raising awareness about the number one killer in women: heart disease.

It’s a statistic, not meant to scare people but to wake them up.

“I think that is exactly why we’re trying to raise the awareness. The more we get the word out, the more women will know their numbers and they’ll take control of their physical and mental wellbeing,” said Stacy Spaziani, regional director, American Heart Association.

According to the American Heart Association, symptoms of heart attack and stroke include shortness of breath, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, chest, neck, jaw, or stomach, and pressure or pain in the center of your chest.

As for Mangino, she’s continuing to live a healthy lifestyle and benefit from her pacemaker.

“It’s going to keep me alive for a very long time,” she said.