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Empowering women who have heart disease

According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading killer of Americans.

Posted: Oct. 8, 2018 12:56 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease partnered with Mayo Clinic for the annual WomenHeart Science and Leadership Symposium on Saturday.

49 women living with heart disease from across the country attended this year's symposium, which included a heart-healthy cooking workshop. With the knowledge and skills they gain at the symposium, they volunteer in their home communities to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

Darlene Scott attended the symposium. She was training for her 7th marathon when she unexpectedly experienced heart failure. She doesn't run marathons anymore, but has been able to get back into running. She's excited to take what she's learned at the symposium back to her community. "I'd like to educate other women about the risk but for someone like me, I wasn't a risk factor... so also talking about what happens beyond heart failure. That you can live beyond, not just live, you can thrive, beyond heart failure, so I want to also not only educate, but also empower women," explains Scott.

"Women here are learning how to support other women, how to educate other women, how to both recover from heart disease but also how not to get heart disease in the first place. Woman-to-woman communication is so incredibly powerful and it doesn't replace them seeing their doctor, but it adds to their healing," adds Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic and the medical director of the symposium.

Since 2002, more than 850 women who are heart disease survivors have trained at the symposium to become "WomenHeart Champions."

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