Star Jones Continues to Bring Heart Disease Awareness to the Public

The spokesperson says it's her "entire life's work."

Posted: 02/17/2012 12:00 PM EST

After Star Jones underwent open heart surgery in 2010, the former View host took on the responsibility to let others know about the disease that took her by surprise. She had gastric bypass surgery in 2003 and lost more than 150 pounds in the process. But although she was on the path to leading a healthier lifestyle, Jones's doctors informed her that she had the early signs of heart disease including shortness of breath, heart palpitations and fatigue.

"With those words, 'Star, you need open heart surgery,' I became one of the millions of Americans who suffer from cardiovascular disease," she tells celebrity lifestyle guru Phillip Bloch. "I become one of millions of Americans who suffer from the number-one killer in America. And when it comes to African-Americans and women, it beats the next four causes of death combined."

She teamed up with the American Heart Association's GoRedForWomen.org to bring awareness about heart disease to the public and has made it her "entire life's work" to educate others about its risk factors while maintaining a healthy weight.

"This is the healthiest I've ever been in my life," she says. "Once you get your weight under control, you start to even expose what other issues you have. I truly believe that had I not chosen to have weight loss surgery and thus reduce my girth, I would not have been able to withstand open heart surgery."


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