Barbra Streisand's effort to raise money and awareness for research into women's heart disease took her to Capitol Hill yesterday; using the opportunity to lobby members of Congress to make a difference on the critical issue.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all cancers combined," said Streisand, pointing out the $1B spent annually on women's cancer research compared to the $246M for women's heart disease. "Since 1984, more women than men have died every year from heart disease. It’s time for more funding, more research, and more attention for women’s heart disease.”

Streisand, 72, has become a major force in drawing awareness to women's heart disease; launching in 2009 the Barbra Streisand Women's Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Women's Heart Center with a $5M personal endowment and raising tens of millions more with celebrity fundraisers.

"It's an epidemic," Streisand said of the more than 42 million American women who have heart disease. "Women don't have the chest pains or left-arm pains. They come in to the hospital with nausea and fatigue, but we don't have the proper diagnostic techniques or machinery because the research in the past 50 years has been done on men."

In her meeting with lawmakers, Streisand, who was also joined by cardiologists from leading research centers, said that the time was now for equality in funding.

“The fact is a woman’s heart is different from a man’s, yet women’s hearts are under-researched, go untreated, and are misdiagnosed,” she said. “Together, we can change that.”

She added: “The time is now. One woman dies nearly every minute from heart disease. We cannot let another year pass when another 400,000 of our fellow women die because these disparities aren’t addressed.”

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Barbra Streisand urges lawmakers to fund heart disease research for women
Performer and women's health advocate appeals for 'more funding, more research and more attention for women’s heart disease.'