|Posted on February 20, 2018 at 10:05 AM|
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The Effects of Having a Heart Attack
Back in March, I had a heart attack. I was healthy. I ate healthy. I exercised regularly. My cholesterol and triglyceride numbers were great. Heart attack wasn’t on my health concern radar. But I still had a heart attack. Mine was not the typical reason for a heart attack; instead, it was a coronary artery spasm, a rare condition. It took me by surprise like a wild cat lying in the bushes, then sudden pouncing on me. Could I have died from it? Absolutely! In my case, the muscle spasm in my heart didn’t fully close off blood flow, but it did restrict it.Thankfully, there was no permanent damage to my heart like in a typical heart attack. This is why I want to share this with concern with you. There is no doubt heart health is vital.
Believe me, it’s no walk in the park. A heart attack really is a deal! Let me tell you, the sensation of feeling like someone is grabbing your heart squeezing it to death, pain radiating up the side of your neck into your jaw radiating across the back of your left shoulder, with vomiting—is not a great way to spend your day-- or evening, for that matter. Mine lasted two hours. TWO LONG, HORRIBLE HOURS! I barely remember the hospital staff starting my heart catheterization. My husband and family hovered over me for the entire week I was in the hospital. I wasn’t able to help with a family crisis because I was stuck in bed. I couldn’t keep up with my work. My husband was worried sick about me. We're newlyeweds, we've only been married 3-1/2 years, so he definitely wasn’t ready to let me go. My adult kids lost their father to cancer five years ago and my grandkids could have lost yet another grandparent. I have other family and friends who would miss me, some who are not ready to lose me after the death of my first husband. I have a church family who love me, who would miss me. I have readers like you who follow my blog posts and read my social media posts who, although there are plenty of Christian health and fitness bloggers out there, would miss the unique perspective I bring to you. Think of the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. There is a huge ripple effect of loss that doesn't need to happen in the first place.
Part of good stewardship of your body means curbing your cravings and being physically active to keep your heart pumping well. God still has a purposefor you on this Earth, let's not hasten your home-going. If you have a relative with heart disease, you are more likely, when conditions are bad enough, to also have heart disease. But anyone, if they don’t do what it takes to have a healthy heart, can end up in the back of an ambulance racing to the emergency room one day.
Know the signs of a heart attack, Ladies (AHA):
1. Pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest, primarily on the left side.
2. Pain radiating up the neck, to the jaw, and/or radiating down the arm, or in the stomach.
3. Nausea, light-headedness, breaking out into a cold sweat.
4. Difficulty breathing, with or without chest discomfort.
The AHA says, “As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.”(www.heart.org)
A heart attack could happen to you, too. You have family, friends, and coworkers who love and depend on you. I can tell you from my own experience of losing my husband to cancer, what it’s like to be left suddenly alone. My kids can tell you what it’s like losing their dad and not having him there for advice or to enjoy his company, or even to be Grandpa to their children. Your family and friends need you. Take care of your heart.
8 Ways to Beat the Odds
Even with a family history of heart disease, you can increase your chances at a better life. Here's how you can take good care of your heart, so your heart can take care of you (AHA):
1. Get regular medical check-ups. Your doctor can detect early signs of heart problems and help you avoid something more serious down the road.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat heart healthy foods and be physically active every day.
4. Monitor your blood pressure regularly. Use the blood pressure machine at your local pharmacy or keep a blood pressure cuff at home.
5. Reduce your stress levels. Give your problems over to God and do what you can to reduce the pressures in your life that keep you up at night.
6. Get enough sleep. Your body needs 6-8 hours of sleep at night. If you keep your bedtime regular, it will reduce the number of sleepless nights you may experience.
7. Manage health conditions that could contribute to heart disease. Autoimmune diseases are notorious for heart problems. Some medications also cause increases in blood pressure. Ask your doctor how to protect your heart in such cases.
8. Limit or avoid alcohol usage. High intake of alcohol has been linked to heart disease. There is no valuable nutritional value to alcohol yet it contains 7 calories! Besides, there really is no health value to any form of alcohol, so it isn't necessary.
9. Maintain a healthy weight for your gender, height, and age. Your body wasn’t designed to carry a lot of extra weight. Although you may never weigh what you did in your 20’s, maintaining a healthy weight for your age and gender reduces the stress load on your heart.
Your health-- and life-- matter. Take good care of your heart so you can be here for the people who love you, who count on you every day. May God bless you!
The American Heart Association at www.heart.org:
Heart attack Symptoms in Women
Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention