What Barbra Streisand Wants Women to Know About Heart Disease


Barbra Streisand says her starring role in Yentl, about a young woman who had to pretend she was a man to get an education, ignited her passion to fight to give women the same chances in life as men.

So, when she became aware of the major gender disparity in heart disease research, funding and treatment – a majority of heart research is done on men – she knew she had to try to do something about it.

“For me, it’s about gender equality,” the Oscar winner, 74, tells PEOPLE. “Women are 50 percent more likely to be given a wrong diagnosis after a heart attack and are at a greater risk of dying within a year of a heart attack than men.

The singer co-founded the Women’s Heart Alliance, which works to raise awareness and research to fight women’s heart disease.

“Heart disease and stroke are the number one killers of women,” says Streisand who points out that symptoms present differently in women.

“Instead of the classic symptom of crushing pain in the chest, women might feel nausea and fatigue,” says Streisand.

But there are some simple steps every woman can take to help prevent a heart attack.

“Eating nutritious foods, reducing stress, getting a good night’s sleep and finding time to exercise will help prevent heart disease and stroke,” says Streisand. “Women need to talk to one another about heart disease and make prevention a priority.”

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