Minnesotans to Show Heart This Friday

Minnesotans to Show Heart This Friday Click to Enlarge

ST. PAUL, Minn. - February is American Heart Month and Friday is National Wear Red Day.

Many Minnesotans will be wearing red to help show their support.

The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign wants women to know more about preventing heart disease and to recognize heart attack symptoms, which can be different in women than men.

Juanita Benton had a heart attack eight years ago while she was exercising in her basement. She says her elliptical monitored her heart rate, and she noticed it going up and up and up.

"By the time I got back upstairs I had lots of nausea, chest pain, sweating and lots of vomiting and diarrhea," she relates. "I just recall sweating so much it seemed like someone had dumped me in a swimming pool."

Benton was lucky her sister was there to help her get medical treatment. She was also lucky she'd read about the symptoms of heart attack and realized she might be having one.

Now Benton wants to raise awareness, especially among women of color.

"Fifty percent or more of African-American women over the age of 20 have some form of heart disease," she states. "Mostly, people don't know that. We could be walking time bombs and not know it."

The American Heart Association says 80 percent of cardiovascular disease can be prevented. Women especially should know their family history, watch their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and eat healthy foods and exercise.

Today, Benton says she's never felt better. She's lost 70 pounds since her heart attack and works with a personal trainer.

"And I still have a long way to go, but you know, I just think if I can do it, other people can do it, too," she states.

Benton says she talks about heart health at work and wherever she goes. She'll be wearing red on Friday for the Go Red for Women campaign.

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