SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The first Friday of every February is Go Red Day. It's to help raise awareness about the risks for heart disease in women.
The thought is that heart disease is an "older man's disease" but that's a myth. Heart Disease is the number one killer of women.
Ruth Ross ignored her family history of heart disease and several warning signs. Then she found out she had heart blockage. Now the cardiac rehab facility at Baystate Medical Center is her gym and her life has changed dramatically.
"Amazing, I really thought I was just getting old prior to everything and now I have a lot more energy," said Ross of Longmeadow.
Ruth was lucky. Heart disease kills 1 of 3 women each year.
Some of the common risk factors include high cholesterol, family history of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Sharon Smith ignored these risk factors and the symptoms she was experiencing. That's until her heart attack.
"A lot of times it was when I was doing something physical so I blamed it on that or I made excuses that I was busy, stressed because that's what women do," said Smith.
Doctors say women have to look for symptoms like weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, arm pain.
Dr. Jaya Mallidi, a cardiology fellow at Baystate said, "If there's something you're not able to do now that you could do before then I think it's important to get checked out."
More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next four causes of death combined.