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When Heart Disease Hits Home :: A Real Life Story

When Heart Disease Hits Home :: A Real Life Story | Columbia SC Moms BlogIt was a Wednesday afternoon when I got the phone call from my dad. My mom had a massive heart attack at Niagra Falls, a thousand miles from their home.

My parents planned their trip for months and Niagra Falls was somewhere mom always dreamed of visiting. Looking back through the pictures on her phone, I saw her bright blue eyes and giant smile as she gazed out over the falls, just minutes before she collapsed.

Less than two weeks after her heart attack as she laid in her hospital bed, I kissed her forehead, held her hands and told her how much I loved her for the last time.

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year . . . that’s almost one woman per 80 seconds.

Combined with men, it’s nearly 800,000 people per year that die from cardiovascular disease.

Those numbers are staggering.

My mom was only 65 years young. The ages of those affected by heart disease are not limited to a certain age, it can happen to anyone.   

For us all, it starts with knowing your numbers: The American Heart Association recommends you know five key numbers: Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI).

There are many factors that play into heart disease, many of which can be managed by you:

  • high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • high blood cholesterol
  • lack of regular activity
  • obesity or overweight
  • diabetes

The American Heart Association offers a Risk Factor Quiz you can take to learn about your specific risk factors. Take the quiz and then meet with your healthcare provider to form a plan to decrease your risk if you find that your numbers are higher than they should be.

To show support for the American Heart Association and National Heart Month, National Wear Red day is this Friday, February 3. Please join men and women around your city, state and country by supporting the American Heart Association by wearing red. If you take a photo, use #GoRedWearRed when sharing to social media.

Would you please join me this Friday in remembering those we’ve lost to heart disease, and supporting the American Heart Association by wearing your favorite shade of red and encouraging friends to know their risk? It starts with one person and we can all do a little to make a big difference. To donate to the AHA to aid in raising awareness and funding scientific research, their FUNraising page is available.

My mom was always encouraging me to be involved, by sending letters or raising my voice. I will not be quiet about heart disease and I will take a stand against this silent killer. I hope you will as well.

Has someone you know been affected by heart disease?

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One Response to When Heart Disease Hits Home :: A Real Life Story

  1. Heather Reyes February 2, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Thanks Michelle. My dad died this year from heart disease also.

    I struggle every day to make good choices to manage my diabetes.
    I know I have a higher risk than most women my age.
    I have big plans to be an overly involved Grandma some day so I try my best
    to be thankful that my chronic disease is treatable unlike some.

    I appreciate your voice for awareness.

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