You probably saw a lot of people wearing red today for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. It’s to help raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases kill nearly one in three women each year.
You probably think cardiovascular diseases only affect older people but that’s not the case.
“I was 24 years old and thought this could never happen to me,” Brittany Williams said. “One day at work, the left side of my body went numb and I totally ignored it, then a week later I went into cardiac arrest.”
Williams passed out in a restaurant with her parents. Luckily two doctors were nearby and revived her with CPR.
“I sat down, looked at the TV, then I was out. But when I was lying there with no pulse, I still heard my parents speaking to me, I heard them say ‘Brittany, Brittany I love you, don’t leave us,’” Williams said.
Williams is now a vocal advocate for the American Heart Association, helping educate other women about the risk factors and signs of heart disease.
“A lot of people get confused between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. A heart attack is basically the plumbing of your heart and cardiac arrest is the electrical system of your heart, so basically it misfires and that’s when you flatline,” Williams said.
Ruby Hope was 55 years old when she suffered a heart attack.
“I was on a walk and my right hand became heavy, my forearm became heavy and I had this overwhelming feeling of doom. I thought to myself 'I’m about to leave this place,'” Hope said.
Both Hope and Williams encourage every woman to know their numbers -- that means knowing their cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index numbers and family medical history.
“A lot of women ignore the symptoms. They need to be able to recognize the symptoms and act on them. It can happen to you, this doesn’t just happen to old people," Williams said. "I don’t wish this on anybody, but women need to know about the importance of staying active, eating healthy and learning heart disease symptoms."