TV host Jeannie Mai encourages women to get their heart checked

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TROY, Mich. — Television correspondent Jeannie Mai from the FOX daytime talk show “The Real” was the keynote speaker at the American Heart Association’s 2017 Go Red for Women luncheon. She spoke before 600 attendees inside the Somerset Collection’s center court.

Mai shared an important message that women–not just men–need to be screened for heart disease and strokes. It’s something that can affect everyone no matter their gender, race or ethnicity.

In fact, the TV host said her uncle had heart disease and died from it. Mai said he was an important member of the family who introduced her to new styles of music and taught her how to ride a bike. She was bummed when her uncle moved away from the rest of her family. He worked two jobs and took classes at the University of Texas.

“I really attribute a lot of my style and personality to him today,” she said. “He was the person that showed me how to be alive. At the same time, my uncle would call home just to check in and let us know how he was doing. I remember one night he said, ‘My heart is having trouble maybe it’s because I’m so anxious all of the time’ and he was having a lot of sweats like hot flashes. I said to him, why don’t we go to the doctors?”

Mai explained that her uncle refused to get checked out by a doctor. “Are you kidding me? We don’t go to the doctor unless we almost dead,” he told her.

“It was funny because that’s what I heard at my house all of the time,” the TV host added. “Our Asian lifestyle is unless you’re dying or literally your hand is cut off or you’ve got a broken bone, you don’t go see the doctor. Well, that night, my uncle passed away. He suffered a heart attack and was only 27 years old. It’s surreal to me now because I was the last one to talk to him on the phone. I beat myself up thinking what I could have said and what I could have done.”

Mai said that after her uncle’s death, her family never discussed the illness or the tragedy. They felt it was an unfortunate incident that probably wouldn’t happen ever again.

Eight years later, Mai went to Walgreen’s to get her blood pressure checked. The TV correspondent learned that she had prehypertension and her mother had stage one of hypertension.

“My jaw dropped and I couldn’t believe it,” she explained. “I said mom, look at this brochure. Heart disease attacks more women than it does men. She didn’t understand it until she saw the numbers. Then, we went to the doctors and things changed. We found that both of us had high cholesterol. I was 18 years old, active in sports and I had high cholesterol? All of the memories from my uncle flooded back into our minds.”

The TV correspondent heard about the recent passing of Fox 2 anchor/reporter Ron Savage. He suffered cardiac arrest from a blockage of his left coronary artery.

“I thought about you guys because it sounds like Ron had an amazing spirit,” Mai said. “You almost thought, I was just there and I just talked to him. What could you have done more? It depends on his family, work and liveliness, but you just never know.”

Mai has changed her own lifestyle by eating healthier and getting more exercise. It’s already paying off because she said her blood pressure has gone down to normal levels.

“I immediately got on track and began to take better care of myself,” she explained. “I started to reduce the red meat and the fats.  It was worth it to spend money to take care of ourselves. Sure enough, within two months of just making dietary changes, both of our blood pressure levels dropped and my cholesterol level dropped. My mom hadn’t yet, so we had to activate more activity in her life.”

The TV correspondent said that her mother began walking around the inside of the Great Mall in San Jose, Calif. She walked 20 laps around the mall each day. One month later, her cholesterol lowered to normal levels.

Following the event, Mai tweeted: “That was so much fun. Next time we do laps round the @SomersetCollection #hearthealthy”

For more information about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, visit


Over 600 women and men attended the Go Red for Women luncheon inside the Somerset Collection. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Fox 2 anchor Deena Centafonti discussing the recent passing of her colleague, Ron Savage, who died from a heart attack. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Dr. Pam Marcovitz is director of Beaumont Health’s Minstrelli Women’s Heart Center. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


The special event kicked off with a fashion show. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Attendees also heard from Sally Lou Loveman, founder of Lovespeaks and former audience producer of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Jeannie Mai talking about her uncle, who died from heart disease. Since then, she has made healthier food choices and has decided to exercise more. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


A group of attendees at the 2017 Go Red for Women luncheon. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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