Don’t let a heart attack or a stroke be your wake up call. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association.
Friday, February 1 is national Go Red Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and it kick starts American Heart Month.
Pamela Bridgeford, who lives in Mansfield, knows all too well the importance of taking care of your heart.
"I felt a change in my chest and I felt almost like I was going through an asthma attack," Bridgeford said. “I had no endurance and I was tired."
She underwent open heart surgery 10 years ago at Hartford Hospital. At the time she needed a mitral valve. Then in July, she had a second scare.
"I was in California and was walking up this steep hill and I just lost my breath," Bridgeford said.
She needed a second surgery to replace the valve.
Heart disease runs in her family, but Bridgeford said she has also taken these experiences as a reminder to prioritize her health.
"My older brother passed away and basically it was heart disease so it made me even more conscious of that and wanting to make sure I take care of myself," Bridgeford said.
Bridgeford is nearing the end of her cardiac rehabilitation at Windham Hospital in Willimantic. On Friday, Feb. 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., the hospital is hosting a Go Red for Women event to raise money for the rehab center.
Doctors recommend you monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol, watch your diet, eat less salt and make exercise a priority.