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Feb 8, 2010 1:42 PM by Carina Corral

Personalizing heart disease: what every woman should know

A Central Coast woman suffered a massive stroke at age 40.

Kandy Noel considered herself to be healthy at the time.

Now she is sharing her story in hopes of inspiring heart care in others.

Friday may have been National Wear Red Day, but every day Kandy lives the Go Red message.

"Watching my mom have a stroke and having some of those same symptoms, but not even correlating it because I was 40 years old she was 80. So you just don't think about it happening at a young age."

Those are some of the misconceptions the American Heart Association wants to clear up through events like Friday's luncheon at the San Luis Obispo Country Club where Kandy was asked to share her story.

"At 40 years-old it was very sobering to think oh my gosh is this going to happen to me too?" said Kandy.

She said if she had just known the warning signs of stroke, she may have questioned her doctor who diagnosed her symptoms as migraines.
"Sudden loss of speech, stumbling, not being able to control my body, those two things happened to me. At the time my doctors thought it was related to migraines headaches, but I had never had them before. If I had known those warning signs, I could've said, 'no I think this is something different.'"

If her story does not hit home, maybe these statistics will:

Heart disease is the number one killer of women age 25 and over and it claims nearly half a million female lives each year, that's almost one life per minute, that's according to the American Heart Association.

If you are a woman who has a story to tell about healthy choices you have made, the American Heart Association may pick you to represent the Go Red for Women 2010-2011 campaign.

Click here to learn more about the organization's casting call.

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