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Advocates Raise Awareness About Heart Disease Among Women

Advocates Raise Awareness About Heart Disease Among Women
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Deanna Chambers from UMMC gives a woman a free health screening.
Jasmine Ellis

The American Heart Association is raising awareness about how heart disease affects women in Mississippi. The organization hosted the Go Red for Women Luncheon yesterday. And as MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports, the association says 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing the disease.

Staff with the University of Mississippi Medical Center is giving free health screenings to women during the Go Red for Women Luncheon in Jackson. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. Tina Lakey with the American Heart Association says routine health screenings are important.

"Heart disease is a silent killer," said Lakey. "That screening will take away that silent part. And when you go you will know do you have a problem or do you not. And so then we can do what we need to do to rectify it if we do."

According to the State Department of Health, heart disease is more prevalent among black women than white women. Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing the disease are high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

Tonya Ware of Jackson suffered from cardiac arrest in 2006. She says it was caused by stress and poor eating habits.

"Everything in my life changed," said Ware. "At some point I had to say, Tonya, I know you eat this way. I know you work this way. I know you live this way. But if you're going to live your life, you're going to have to make some changes."

Advocates say education and knowing your family history might help stop people from developing heart disease.