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According to the CDC, black women are at least 50 percent more likely than white women to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely.

And according to the American Heart Association, even though heart disease is the number one killer of woman, many women don’t know the signs that they’re experiencing heart trouble. In fact, 64% of women who’ve had a heart attack showed no symptoms of heart disease before the attack.

Thankfully, Mayo Clinic is one of the many organizations fighting to save women’s lives through cutting-edge research and by empowering women to improve their own heart health.

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Having Conversations: The Links, Incorporated

Mayo Clinic recently partnered with The Links, Incorporated, which is one of the nation’s premier volunteer service organizations of professional African-American women.

The collaboration stemmed from conversations with a Mayo Clinic patient and Link member named Ginger Wilson, a Chicago lawyer and businesswoman. Wilson, using her own personal medical experiences as a bridge, helped propel the two national organizations toward a flood of joint initiative ranges from raising health awareness in the African-American community to facilitating scientific research together; the collaboration is especially focused on cardiovascular disease, cancer, organ transplantation and obesity. Mayo Clinic is also enhancing its educational outreach, research outreach, and messaging to encourage and grow the number of minorities who choose medical and health careers.

Additionally, a public service video has been produced, and research findings from a collaborative survey were presented at the National Medical Association and other scientific venues. The message: “Listen to your body. Be proactive with your health.”

“The potential for this groundbreaking relationship is enormous. Our organizations have mutual goals and the determination and means to make those goals a reality,” says Sharonne Hayes, M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and director of the Mayo Clinic Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Health care disparities among minority populations should be a concern for everyone in the country. Unfortunately, the quality of medical care can still depend on your race, your gender or your ZIP code.”

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Having Soup: The Heart Health Project

Progresso Heart Healthy recently launched The Heart Project in support of Mayo Clinic. The famous soup company launched The Heart Project to inspire people to learn the facts and take action regarding their heart health.

“Progresso and Mayo Clinic are working together to make a positive difference in women’s heart health, by driving awareness, education and action,” said John Weston, chief marketing officer at Mayo Clinic. “Our goal always at Mayo Clinic is to focus on the needs of the patient, and we think this is an opportunity to positively influence the health of many.”

The Heart Project encourages people to take the Heart Health Quiz, which offers tools and information about heart disease and shares tips and ideas to help lower heart disease risks.

“Heart disease is the nation’s number one cause of death for both men and women,” said Sharon Mulvagh, M.D., director of the Women’s Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic. “What’s most astonishing is that almost 80% of heart disease is preventable, and even small lifestyle changes can have a big impact. Making a difference in your heart health is easier and more enjoyable than you may think.”

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What Can Women Do To Help Save Their Hearts?

According to Mayo Clinic, there are several lifestyle changes women can make to reduce their risk of heart disease:

• Quit or don’t start smoking

• Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week, or 60 to 90 minutes if you need to lose weight

• Maintain a healthy weight

• Eat a diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt

• Take prescribed medications appropriately

• Manage other conditions that are risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

For more information from Mayo Clinic about women’s heart health, visit