Women are less likely than men to survive a heart attack and do less well after angioplasty. That's why the American Heart Association has released its first ever guidelines for women.
They encourage women and their doctors to be more aggressive in managing risk factors for stroke and heart disease.
Sandra Revil/ Needed Heart Surgery: "When they shot dye into my artery, the doctor said to me, 'Do you know how lucky you are?' I had a 95 percent occluded artery in my heart and I would have had a heart attack very shortly after that."
Active all her life, 39-year-old Sandra Revill learned the hard way that wasn't enough.
"Sandra Revil/ Needed Heart Surgery: "I had genetically low HDL, and had I had a comprehensive blood test and been more aware of my HDL and my LDL and my risk factors and all of those things, I probably could have prevented it ever getting to this stage."
Sandra was lucky. Many women are not.
Cardiovascular disease kills nearly 500,000 women in the U.S. every year. That's more than the next seven leading causes of death combined, including cancer.
In an effort to raise awareness, the American Heart Association is kicking off a new campaign 'Go red for women'. The emphasis is on prevention.
Kathy Berra, N.P./ Stanford Prevention Research Center: "They need to have their blood pressure, lipid profile. They need to know whether they are at risk for diabetes, have their waist circumference measured, look at their body mass index. Do they need to lose weight? And get the message to get out and be physically active, so that we can prevent much of the disease process."
A stroke survivor herself, San Jose assistant mayor Pat Dando encourages women to know the warning signs and get help fast.
Pat Dando/ San Jose Vice-Mayor: "All too often, women are the caretakers. It's time for women to take care of themselves and each other."
And it's never too early to get the message out -just ask these students at John Yewall Chin Elementary School.
You can have a healthy heart, it's easy as 1-2-3, eat healthy stuff, move around enough, live tobacco free."
Even though cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, a new survey is sobering. Only thirteen percent of women consider heart disease their greatest health risk.