Young heart attack survivor: 'I thought it couldn't be happening - KPTV - FOX 12

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Young heart attack survivor: 'I thought it couldn't be happening to me'

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Friday was the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day, which the organization calls an opportunity to educate people on heart disease, the number one killer of both men and women.

According to the AHA, heart disease and stroke account for a third of all deaths among women each year, or one woman every 80 seconds. That is more deaths than all forms of cancer combined.

Julie O'Leary is a heart disease survivor, and she said that she was shocked that heart disease could affect someone as young as her.

“I had a heart attack, I was only 43 years old. I thought it couldn't be happening to me and I dismissed the symptoms,” she said. “I told myself that I was freaking myself out and being overly dramatic.”

O'Leary said she is only alive because she got treatment, but waited two whole days after she started having symptoms.

According to the AHA, an estimated 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable with education and action.

To learn more about the Go Red campaign, log on to

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