Heart disease in women: What you don’t know might kill you

FOX Sports Reporter Jennifer Hale to share her personal experience illuminating the silent signs of heart disease at the Sisisky-Kleppinger Lecture for Women’s Health on April 10

Jacksonville, FL

In the fall of 2016, NFL sideline reporter Jennifer Hale was preparing for her sixth season on FOX Sports. Despite looking healthy and fit, Hale was feeling unusually fatigued, short of breath, and her feet were swelling.

She initially blamed her symptoms on her busy work schedule and life on the road. But when swelling extended to her legs and waist, Hale became concerned that it could be something serious – and she headed to the nearest ER.  

“I’m so glad I did,” Hale recalled in an interview with Women’s Health Magazine. “An echocardiogram revealed that my heart was only pumping at 16 percent capacity.”

Hale was diagnosed at age 38 with dilated cardiomyopathy, a progressive disease in which the left ventricle of the heart becomes enlarged and can’t effectively pump blood. A healthy heart should pump between 50 and 75 percent out of the left ventricle with each heartbeat.

Hale’s cardiologist put her on medication to reduce the size of her enlarged heart and placed her on a heart transplant list. Determined to continue her fast-paced career, she also received a personal defibrillator to provide an extra measure of protection. Hale’s medication worked so well that her heart function improved to 51 percent, and she was taken off the heart transplant list in February 2018.

Hale will be the keynote speaker at the Sisisky-Kleppinger Annual Endowed Lecture for Women’s Health presented by Baptist Health on Wednesday, April 10, at WJCT Studios. The event is free and open to the public, and will focus on women’s heart health, with a post-lecture Q&A session featuring a panel of cardiologists from Baptist Heart Specialists.

To register, visit the 2019 Sisisky-Kleppinger Eventbrite