Category Archives: Heart

World Heart Day

world-heart-dayLittle did I know when writing about my medical terms today that September 29th is World Heart Day……and I have a scheduled appointment today to see my cardiologist.  Interesting.

According to the World Heart Foundation, World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to inform people around the world that heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death.  There are different events across the world that take place on this day to bring awareness of staying heart healthy. This year’s theme is creating heart-healthy environments.

Most of you who know me know my heart history, which is also detailed in my previous blogs.  I am SO incredibly thankful to be here, to have survived a significant heart attack 5 years ago.  Let’s participate in some way to World Heart Day, whether on a local level or national level, we are all able to empower each other to a healthier heart!

Fifth Year Anniversary – Here’s to my heart

I just realized what today is for me.  This is year number 5 on this exact date that I sufferedcelebrationphoto a ‘significant’ heart attack.  Wow!  I am really blessed and very grateful to still be alive and kicking!  Anyone who has ever suffered a heart attack knows that your life will never be the same as before.  Not to say that you cannot still be very functional and active – it’s just that there are a few subtle signs and symptoms that your body will ‘remind’ you that you did have a heart attack.

I do know the key things for a long-lasting recovery ARE:

  • to definitely diminish the stress in your life.  In this world we live in now, it’s almost impossible to avoid stress, but there are various ways of lowering your stress level.  Forget what people think of you!  As long as God is satisfied with you, then that’s all that matters.
  • better, healthier eating habits.  It may be more expensive to eat healthier, but it is so well worth it.  Though I still tend to stray from eating healthy every single day, I do pick myself up and get back on track and I don’t beat myself up about it.  A little determination goes a long way!
  • exercise frequently.  Walking – which is my preference for exercising – can be so refreshing, relaxing and both mentally and physically healthy for you.  One of the many things I enjoy about living in the South is the 8+ months of warm weather where I can get out and participate in either very early morning or late afternoon walks, walking almost anywhere I live. I have the option of taking in a little exercise in our gym facility here in the complex or any gym facility down the street, taking a casual walk in the community, at the local park or whether it’s taking a walk in Stone Mountain Park (which I hope to accomplish again – hadn’t done that in over 15 years!).
  • continue medications as prescribed.  None of us like the fact that we have to take medications, but when your body suffers a traumatic event and your doctor tells you to take your meds, then do so!  Thinking you know everything and wanting to wean, or completely stop taking your medications on your own is foolish.  If you have concerns about certain meds you’re taking, then by all means talk with your doctor first BEFORE stopping the medication yourself.

Though I just recently received what’s called a cardiac event monitor as I’ve had some recent palpitations  (or heart flutters), I am still active (more active than many of my neighbors who are older than me) – with the intention of becoming more active as the weather is coming into spring.  Most of all, I’m ever the more hopeful on my future outlook on my life – and lowering any more chances of any further heart attacks!

American Heart Month

According to National Health Observances, February is designated as American Heart Month.  Not because it’s Valentine’s Day on February 14th, but because as a country, there are different health observances that we try to recognize by encouraging and educating heart-35348_1280ourselves and by empowering people to better health!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death here in the United States.  1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease yearly and unfortunately, I myself fall into the statistics of heart disease.  BUT……the good thing about it, I’ve survived it, I’m managing it and am doing great!  Take some time and read an earlier blog I posted a year or so ago called “Matters of the Heart” relating to my story of heart disease.

How we can help?  It’s easy.

  • Go to your local Red Cross and take CPR classes and donate – whether it’s donating blood, your time or financially.
  • If you’re a smoker, quit smoking!  It can be done, believe me.  Your heart will love you for it.
  • Heart healthy eating habits.  Tons and tons of reliable FREE information to read  online, and many books and articles regarding eating heart healthy meals.
  • Educate yourself about high cholesterol, high or low blood pressures, strokes and heart diseases and its many signs and symptoms, which are just some of the leading causes of heart disease.

As I often mention in my blogs, there is so much out here at our disposal to educate our own selves about our health.  We can begin by utilizing the Internet by reading and educating ourselves for free!!  It’s that simple.  Prevent becoming a statistic.  Help others by donating whatever you feel you can donate – your blood, your time, your knowledge, your resources – that others may not be privy to.

Straight from My Heart

rose-210072_640Happy Valentines Day to all.  Though there is no ‘special someone’ in my life right now, I do want to say thank you and I love ALL of my readers for supporting me and reading my blogs!

Fitting that this is Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d wait for this day to share with you that February is also known as American  Heart Month! I’m sure you’ve seen ads this month related to heart disease, heart problems and many other articles and organizations such as  “Go Red”, (an American Heart Association organization dedicated to bringing awareness to women) regarding sustaining a healthy heart.

With a previous blog I’ve written, “Matters of the Heart”, I touched a little bit about my experiences with the heart after suffering a heart attack in 2010.    There is so much more to the heart  outside of a heart attack – so many variations of heart disease and many other heart problems.  I will not delve into much more of that today as there are hundreds of articles written regarding the heart – especially this month, but I just wanted all to be aware, take charge in having a healthier heart – whether it’s taking very small steps in maintaining a healthy heart through better diet, exercise, etc. or whether it’s taking charge in very tiny increments after suffering some type of heart-related trauma, such as a heart attack, heart failure, heart surgery in regaining your strength, monitoring your blood pressure, etc.  Take charge of your health in living a longer, healthier life!!!

Matters of the heart

Yes, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been here……but I am BACK!!

We hear so much these days about being “heart healthy”, being careful in what we eat to keep a healthy heart.  Well……it’s all true!  The heart is a very interesting organ.  It plays many, many roles in our health.   The role of the heart is to pump blood throughout the cardiogram-heart-pulse-trace-concept-cardiovascular-medical-exam-32285203body.   It’s located between the two lungs and lies left of the middle of the chest.

Though there was no early-age family history of heart problems/heart disease in my family – mother’s and father’s side – I just brushed off those ‘signs’ as family members being OLD and developing heart problems.  My dad was generally healthy – was still driving at 92 years of age!  But it was then I started realizing that yes – there IS a family history of heart problems.  Dad developed heart problems in his early 80s (actually probably before that, but with his ‘pride’ in the way and his generation of people with the thought process of “i’m okay – nothing’s wrong”) probably developed it earlier than the age of 80.

My own personal experience with the heart came in 2010 when I had a myocardial infarction (heart attack).  I was doing my usual…..working at home transcribing, early morning around 6:00-6:30 a.m.  I was actually feeling quite great, until I had a sudden pain in the center of my chest right at the breast bone.  Okay…… I brushed that off and kept working.  Five minutes later, I had a second pain which was even sharper than the first, in the same spot.  It was so sharp, it moved me out of my chair.  I began to feel queasy, so I sat on the bed for a moment.  Still not thinking ANYTHING about having a heart attack, I still brushed it off as maybe having indigestion.  It certainly was not indigestion as I later came to find out, to sum it all up.

All in all, it took me approximately 2.5 hours from the time of initial chest pain to getting to the hospital and being diagnosed as having a heart attack. One of the tests that determines when one is having a heart attack is called a troponin level, which is part of the cardiac enzyme levels.  Normal levels are around 0.00-0.02.  My troponin level in determining my heart attack was 34!!! Needless to say, I have damage to my heart and I’ve had to have 2 stents placed.  Cardiac stents  are placed to keep the arteries open, free of plaque buildup and used for better reducing chest pain in the event of another heart attack.

With a 6-day hospital stay during that time and now 3 years later, I must say that I am doing fine,  changed my eating habits (I DO tend to fall off the wagon from eating right, but I get back on track) and taking Crestor (a statin drug) to help reduce the amount of plaque in me.  I was VERY reluctant at first to take any type of statin drug (and had been on 2 other different statin drugs prior to the Crestor to see what works best for me) because of its side effects.  Yes – pretty much ALL medications have some sort of side effects that are listed, but if you have a concerned, caring physician and in tune with the things going on with your health, different alternatives can be reached between you and your physician.  I had ‘heard’ so many negative things about statin drugs, but I’ve had to take it upon myself to educate myself regarding statins.