Go Red for Women Day

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Heart disease kills two women in Winnebago County each week, yet the disease is often preventable. On Friday, Rockford took part in a nationwide campaign to help raise awareness.

Sherry Wild was only 43 years old when she suffered a heart attack. She was on a treadmill when she began to feel sharp pains in her jaw and neck. When the pain began to move down, Sherry knew something wasn't right and was rushed to the hospital.

“Within an hour I was getting an angioplasty and a stem put in,” says Wild.

Sherry is now joining other women for "Go Red For Women Day." It's a national campaign that raises awareness about the disease which is responsible for almost half of all female deaths in the U.S.

Barb Giolitto, Executive Director for the Northern Illinois American Heart Association, says the statistics are even more shocking when you know someone close to you who’s suffered from heart disease. Women often avoid medical treatment because they aren't aware of the symptoms.

Dr. Joseph Pensabene of Rockford Cardiology Associates says symptoms often include neck, back and abdominal pain.

Sherry says she's lucky. When she suffered her heart attack she was in physical therapy and was assisted by nurses from the cardiac rehabilitation unit. Sherry believes if it weren’t for those nurses, she wouldn’t be here today.

While heart disease isn't always preventable, it's important to know your risk factors. Watch your blood and cholesterol levels, exercise and avoid smoking.