Spreading the word about heart disease — with a touch of humor

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NEW YORK — In conjunction with National Wear Red Day Friday, the American Heart Association released a new film — a comedy about a woman having a heart attack. The short film is a humorous exaggeration of a typical working mother, who's focused on everybody's needs but her own.

A working mother herself, Elizabeth Banks directed the film and stars as the mom, a woman who ignores signs of a heart attack in favor of getting her family out the door on time. She partnered with the American Heart Association for this unusual way of spreading heart disease awareness.

"It was definitely tricky to convince them that using humor would be a great way to talk about heart disease," Banks said.

Because it's not fun to talk about the facts: that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and that reducing your risk for a heart attack means taking the time no one thinks they have to eat right, quit smoking and exercise.

"More women are dying of heart disease than men every year," said Dr. Martha Grogan, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.

"Even though you may be thin and look the picture of health, you are at risk for heart disease," said Dr. Jennifer Mieres, a cardiologist with North Shore-LIJ Health System.

In this case, the best way to deliver heart disease messages to a woman's brain may be through her funny bone. "Frankly, if it's funny, you pass it on," Banks said.

Visit www.goredforwomen.org learn more about how you can reduce your risk for heart disease.


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Erika Edwards, NBC News


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