Recently someone said that everyone our age already knows about heart disease. That comment with the fact that at my age, heart disease isn't a shock discouraged me further, thinking my story isn't significant enough to tell anymore. Then this happened.
I finished up B1 Skills and Drills after doing fabulous. I drove over to Deep Well Farm to meet my two daughters and five grandkids that followed us to Tennessee in 2019. I thought I was picking up my 14-year-old granddaughter, but it turned out she wanted to join in on the fun at the Farm. Shout out to 'Deep Wells.' It was fun, we got to go on a hayride, pick our pumpkins, watch the kids go down slides, and play on the different playgrounds. While there, my daughter, Michal, showed us her heart rate on her apple watch. It was in the 120s. Mine was 72 bpm. My daughter's heart rate was also very high at dinner the week before. Later, I texted Michal and her husband that an elevated heart rate was not okay. I shared, please don't mess around. Take care of it. Michal went to the University of Tennessee emergency room, and after elevated heart enzymes and an abnormal EKG, they moved her to the Cardiac Care Unit for further testing. The next test was the Cardiac CT scan which showed some blockage. Not as significant as mine, but I was ten years older than she was at the onset of my symptoms. Two days later, my beautiful young daughter, Michal, was released from the hospital with a diagnosis of premature heart disease. Her blood pressure has stabilized with the medicine twice a day, and added to her new regimen of life will be cholesterol-lowering medicine, a statin, a blood pressure pill, a baby aspirin, and wait for it, a significant lifestyle change. My daughter is 37 years old. When I had my heart attack and found out my left descending artery was over 70 percent blocked and had a stent deployed in my LAD, I was 47 years old.
Although my girls are very educated about preventing and controlling women's heart disease, life and children take precedent over their health.
In 2003 American Heart Association used me as the face of women's heart disease. I spoke on Capitol Hill in front of senators requesting financial support for more research. I talked all over the United States, and honestly, at that time, women's heart disease was just getting recognized for the danger it is.
Eighteen years later, I have two daughters that have been diagnosed with heart disease.
Michal is 37 years old.
Cortney is 39 years old. At 33 years of age, my daughter was experiencing very erratic heart racing and learned she had a very rare heart disease called Brugada. Due to this disease, Cortney has a permanent defibrillator and pacemaker keeping her alive.
Moms, grandmas, sisters, aunts, please take this as a personal message to know your cholesterol numbers, keep an eye on your blood pressure, and put yourself first for a bit.
Remember we might feel very educated about our own health, but does that mean that you know your entire Lipid Panel, that you are taking your prescribed medications, that you are getting proper exercise and rest.
Approximately 144 million women live in the United States.
More than 8 million of those 144 million women are living with heart disease.
Of that group of 8 million women,
500,000 women will die from heart disease this year.
One woman every minute.
Take a minute to think about that.
These are harsh facts.
Cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer of women.
Risk Factors we can change
Risk Factors we cannot change