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Jennie Garth Shares Heart Health Advice For Women (VIDEO)

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Jennie Garth became a spokeswoman with the American Heart Association campaign Go Red™ For Women after losing her father to heart disease and learning she has a leaky valve.

Todd Hartley:
Heart disease is the number one killer of women and it doesn’t matter if you live in Manhattan, New York, Scottsdale, Arizona, where EmpowHER is located, or in my home town of Manhattan Beach, California, which just so happens to be right up the road from Beverly Hills 90210 and that’s why actress Jennie Garth is here on EmpowHER. Hi Jennie.

Jennie Garth:
Hi there.

Todd Hartley:

Now I understand that you are the celebrity spokesperson for Go Red™ for Women this February, which is American Heart Month. Well you’ve got quite a family history with heart disease, so can you tell me about your first memory of heart conditions?

Jennie Garth:
Well, when I was, I think I was about 12, my father suffered his first heart attack, which would be then the beginning of a very long journey dealing with heart disease, something that I have had in my family and in my life in various ways as long as I can remember, basically.

Todd Hartley:
And then you found out later on that you had a leaky valve. Will you talk with me about that? I’m a heart survivor myself, so you and I talking about this is a real honor for me. You have had a leaky valve issue that you’ve had corrected. I followed your story. Can you share that with the audience?

Jennie Garth:
Well when I turned 30, due to my father’s heart history and my family genetics, I vowed to start seeing a cardiologist every year and just really be proactive and take my own heart health into my own hands. So when I went, at age 30 I was pretty sure that they were going to tell me I was healthy as a horse and there was nothing to be worried about, that I would be, you know, sort of the exception to this family gene pool.

But much to my surprise, they told me I had a leaky valve, which is something that is not, certainly not life-threatening – it’s common and it’s something that had I not known about it, what I have lived? Sure, but it’s something that I think is important that I do know, especially as I get older and given I do have heart disease in my family. So for me, you know, it made me really take my heart health even more seriously than before.

Todd Hartley:
Oh yeah. I actually, I feel like I was a lot like you where I was kind of in denial of the, you know, of the inevitable; finding out I had a problem.

Jennie Garth:
One of my key message points to people when I talk about heart disease and heart health awareness is to be proactive, to go out and seek specialists and to get tests done, even, you know, if you have genetic, you know, if you have risk factors like heart disease in your family. You know, heart disease is largely preventable, which is really exciting. I think that that just that if we take matters into our own hands and we alter our lifestyle just slightly with very simple, easy, life-changing habits we can prevent getting heart disease and that is actually a gift that we can do that for ourselves.

Todd Hartley:
A great place to get some information is GoRedForWomen.org, that’s GoRedForWomen.org.

Jennie Garth:
Absolutely. The American Heart Association just also published a book called, I am actually sitting here and looking through it – “The Complete Guide to Women’s Heart Health,” and it’s so easy to understand and there are so many great tips in there for women who are concerned about this or for even women who aren’t thinking about it but should be.

Todd Hartley:
You know, whenever I see that heart disease is the number one killer of women, it always surprises me that we as a culture spend a lot less time creating awareness and prevention. What do you think about that?

Jennie Garth:
That’s the thing is, I didn’t think of heart disease as a woman’s disease. I was always told that it was a man’s disease – something, you know, an older, larger, unhealthy man gets heart disease and have heart attacks, but it’s like you said, it’s the number one killer of American women.

It starts in the 30s and it’s something that, you know, you can’t prevent cancer, you can’t prevent other life-threatening diseases but this is something that you can prevent just by altering your lifestyle, so I think that that is so important to bring women, to make women aware that just by making some simple changes in their life they can prevent this disease.

Todd Hartley:
You know, I have read something that you had written and I thought it was pretty profound. You said, “Most women don’t know that their heart is a very forgiving organ.” We overlook that, don’t we?

Jennie Garth:
It is because I wouldn’t even think of it that way. I mean, it’s never too late to take your heart health seriously and make it a priority, even if you have eaten badly or you smoke cigarettes or you have not exercise as much as you should have, you know, all those guilt things can come into play, but every day is a new day.

If you recommit every morning to making healthy choices, just that day, your heart is going to forgive you and it’s such an amazing organ and the blood comes it and replenishes it and it will heal itself and you can move forward and just, you know, I try to keep every day as a fresh day, a new day to make the right choices.

Todd Hartley:
Yeah, so very wise and such an important statement to make. Well she is Jennie Garth. She is the spokesperson for Go Red™ for Women, which is The American Heart Association’s initiative to raise awareness and educate women how they can prevent heart disease. For more information, GoRedForWomen.org, that’s GoRedForWomen.org.

Jennie Garth, thank you so much for helping us improve health and change lives.

Jennie Garth:
Oh I am happy to do it. Thank you for having me.

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EmpowHER Guest

So, I just love Jennie!! She has helped me so much with my health. She has encouraged me to take better care of my health! does anyone know where I can find those pictures of her? thanks for posting, this interview is amazing! Jennie..if you're reading this, YOU'RE AMAZING and you should be proud of everything that you have done in your life because you are a remarkable person who has made so many people in this world happier :)

February 12, 2010 - 9:16pm
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