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Starr DeEllen Mirza's Story
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Selected for the 2017 and 2018 Burlington #KnockOutHeartDisease Campaign

Age: 38

Location: Silver Spring, MD

 During her youth, Starr was extremely active in school and her community, although she physically struggled with weakness, fatigue, and heart palpitations. She underwent medical evaluations by several doctors at the time who concluded her symptoms were the result from a teenager who did not get enough to eat or sleep and further, that she had been “faking” her symptoms for attention. Starr was taken to psychologists following recommendations made to her parents by these doctors. They determined her mental health was “normal.” From then on, she learned that no one would believe that something ailed her and she began to ignored her symptoms despite how bad her body felt.

 At age 22, Starr was diagnosed with influenza and pleurisy, an inflammation of the membranes that surround the lungs and line the chest cavity. Just a few days after receiving treatment and returning to work, she fainted. Starr was taken to the hospital in cardiac arrest and was subsequently diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome.  She immediately underwent surgery to implant a cardiac pacemaker and defibrillator. Since, she has endured numerous surgeries and medication regimens, and has experienced many complications, including heart failure.

 In 2017, Starr took great pride in participating in the Burlington #KnockOutHeartDisease Campaign. Since the campaign, she has remained busy advocating for women’s heart health and promoting heart disease awareness, including the indisputable fact that the number one killer of women is heart disease. She has been interviewed by various local news media to share the importance of health self-awareness, and that heart disease can arise at any age. In addition to volunteering with WomenHeart, she has served as a patient advocate on scientific panels hosted by the American College of Cardiology, and the Food and Drug Administration. She says, “Women should listen to their bodies and demand to be heard when they know something is wrong.”



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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the nearly 48 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a founding partner of The Heart Truth Red Dress campaign. The Heart Truth and Red Dress are trademarks of HHS.