Rachel D'Souza-Seibert of St. Louis was healthy, fit and active, and never realized heart disease could strike any woman, at any age, until two years ago, when she suffered a heart attack just one week after her first child was born.
"I really thought I was doing everything right, and quite frankly at the age of 28 I wasn't thinking about my heart at all, you know," she recalls. "I thought heart disease happened to old people or to men."
Friday marks the 11th annual National Wear Red Day.
Men and women alike are encouraged to wear the color to help raise awareness of heart disease, which the Heart Association says claims more women's lives each year than all forms of cancer combined.
D'Souza-Seibert hopes the simple act of wearing red will show support for the tens of thousands of Missouri women who are living with heart disease, and encourage all women to know their risk factors, talk with their doctors and to make whatever lifestyle changes might be necessary.
"While those changes haven't been easy," she admits, "once you get used to them, you feel a completely new level of normal and you know you're not missing out on anything, and you can live a really healthy and satisfying life with heart disease."
The American Heart Association estimates that 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
(Mona Shand, Missouri News Service)
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