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National Wear Red Day supports women's heart health

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Megan Dillon of Bethel Park will be wearing her red dress for National Wear Red Day (taken Sunday, January 27, 2013). 
 Heidi Murrin  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Megan Dillon of Bethel Park will be wearing her red dress for National Wear Red Day (taken Sunday, January 27, 2013). Heidi Murrin Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Every heartbeat counts for Megan Dillon.

The 26-year-old from Bethel Park has had heart disease all her young life.

And she doesn't take a minute for granted.

“I feel like this is all I have known,” Dillon says. “When I was born, the doctors weren't sure I was going to make it, but I believe I was chosen for this for a reason. And from what I have seen, it can always be worse. I have seen people dealing with much more things than I have had to deal with.”

Dillon wants to help get the word out that heart disease doesn't affect only older women.

That's why she will be wearing a red dress Friday.

It's National Wear Red Day. It's the 10th anniversary of the event that urges everyone to “Go Red for Women” to help to raise awareness about heart disease in women.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. It causes one in three women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. An estimated 43 million women in the United States are affected by heart disease.

It cuts across age and gender barriers, says Dr. Elizabeth Piccione, a cardiologist for the Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC.

“Sometimes, what you do when you are young sets things in motion for when you are older, so it is important to take care of yourself in your 20s and 30s and 40s and 50s,” she says.

“I like to think of the body like a house, and if the plumbing is bad, you fix it. But that bad plumbing sometimes happens over years, same with your heart.”

The heart is a pump, and you can get through life without it pumping at 100 percent, Piccione says. But the biggest risk is not knowing that you have a heart problem.

“The body is amazing,” she says. “You can life a normal life with heart disease as long as you take care of yourself.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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