POSTED: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Friday, February 1, 2013 - 10:15am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Friday marks the tenth anniversary of the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign.
Over the past decade awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women has gone up and deaths from the disease have gone down.
Two women with the same heart condition had very different experiences with their diagnosis, and it could be because one woman was diagnosed before the campaign began.
Spending time with her 21-year-old daughter is something Michelle Burke was told would never happen.
15 years ago she was a busy mother of three.
Her usually perky personality was bogged down by extreme fatigue.
Knowing her sister had died at age 19 from a heart condition, she felt it was time to see if she also had a troubled heart.
"I went to actually two different doctors and they said to me, 'It's just because you have young children, it's your season in life, when they grow up you won't be tired anymore'," she recalls.
Months later a different doctor agreed to take a look at Michelle's heart, and when they called with the results she was told she had only a handful of years left.
In the time since Michelle's diagnosis the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign has made great strides in raising awareness of women's heart problems, for both women and their doctors.
That increased awareness likely saved Mary Leah Coco's life.
Like Michelle, Mary Leah was also a busy mother who was constantly tired.
When she told her doctor about her mother's heart condition he took her family history seriously and immediately ordered additional tests.
"It was pretty world shattering and life altering to find my heart was functioning at 10% of what it should be," she says.
Both women are living with their condition rather than succumbing to it, something they say wouldn't have been possible without the awareness and research go red has created.
To learn more visit: www.GoRedForWomen.org