Woman describes importance of heart awareness

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- It was just a regular day for Sabrina Robinson one morning in 2014.

"I got up that morning I was doing my routine...I got in the shower..I got out and like a truck it just hit me," she said.

But she was a healthy and vibrant mom in her early thirties, so at first, she ignored the signs.

"Even though I was having every single solitary sign of a heart attack...I did not think at all that was what was happening," Robinson said.

But it was happening, and just hours later, she found herself at the hospital, preparing to undergo a heart bypass. Doctors told Robinson's family she would only have a 20% chance of surviving the procedure.

Her case is true for many women across America who underestimate the risk of heart disease.

The American Heart Association says 1 in 3 women will die from heart disease, making it the number one killer of women in the country.

Stormont Vail Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner Joni Miller says the disease is a threat for both men and women, but doctors say women are least likely to have prominent symptoms.

"For men, they're the ones you read about, but women's symptoms are much more vague," she said.

After 10 hours of surgery, Robinson was dedicated to recovering with Miller's help.

"You know you hear it's the number one killer of women and that may seem overwhelming in a patient," Miller said. "But, just kinda breaking it down so it's a little more simple, it doesn't seem like this is an overwhelming thing that nobody can do anything about."

The American Heart Association says while a healthy lifestyle is helpful, keeping track of things like your recent checkups and paying attention to your body is also important in preventing heart disease.

Robinson says even though she didn't recognize the signs at first, she lives to talk about it.

"I wondered for a while why I was spared, why I was saved, because I didn't know," she said.

And now, she says it's her responsibility to spread the word.

"One person that notices they have these symptoms, and they go get checked out and that's what saves their life, then I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

You can celebrate Heart Month with Topeka's Breakfast in Red. The free event takes place at 8 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Brownstone, 4020 NW 25th St. Reservations are required by Feb. 8, and may be made by clicking here. Questions? Contact Jennifer.LeClair@heart.org or 785.228.3435.