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Women and Heart Disease

TV Crime Reporter Missed Clues

Jennifer Donelan didn't realize the signs of her heart under distress until she was in a hospital bed recovering from a heart attack at the age of 36. A crime reporter for WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., her life revolved around the traumas, disasters, and heartaches that plagued her community. "

I was extremely worried about breast cancer; I was not worried about heart disease," she said. "Heart disease was not even on my radar."

Jennifer's heart attack reset her priorities.

"'Wait a minute,' I thought to myself. 'I'm 36 years old, and I just got smacked by my reality.' I smoked. I didn't get good sleep. I wasn't exercising. I really didn't eat well. And the stress was, like, 120 percent all day long."

At the time, Jennifer's career was her primary focus. "But the heart attack stopped me dead in my tracks," she said. "After the heart attack, my first walk—I was afraid every step would be my last."

Jennifer now takes time to manage stress and nourish herself with healthy food. Jennifer urges all women to know their risk for heart disease and take action to lower it.

"Women need to wake up," she said. "Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Women need to know their numbers, their cholesterol, their history, and their BMI (body mass index). They need to watch their stress.

"If the story of what I've been through can help even one other woman, then it's been worth it," she added.

"The Red Dress® means I'm not alone."

—From The Heart Truth®, a program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Sharing Advice From The Heart / TV Crime Reporter Missed Clues

Spring 2016 Issue: Volume 11 Number 1 Page 3