Heart Disease Month: My Story

As a Primary Care Physician I have cared for many many patients with heart disease but in 2013 it became personal. I remember watching my mother who had always been active her whole life until age 79 begin to move slower. Instead of walking at the mall for hours she became tired after walking only 1-2 blocks.  She also had a history of heartburn so when she complained of a pain under her left breast her PCP was not very alarmed. However, I became very alarmed when we went on a family vacation to San Diego and we literally had to stop literally every block for my mother to rest.

As soon as we came back I called her Primary Care Provider (PCP) and scheduled an appointment. A stress test was ordered which came back abnormal.  This lead to a Cardiac Angiogram. I dropped my mother off for the test and raced back to work to see patients while she was having her procedure. I still remember the day like it was yesterday. The Cardiologist called me in the midst of seeing patients and said “Your mother needs heart surgery today…now”.  

From that day, I became a caregiver for my mother who thankfully recovered well but developed Atrial Fibrillation.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

 

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