Straight from the heart . . .

Straight from the heart . . .

My one-month anniversary!


The last time I celebrated a "one-month anniversary" it was during a period of young puppy love.  If you remember those days, you were all giddy because you had been going steady (now "going out"?) for a whole month and that had to mean true love.  Oh, those were simple times, weren't they?


I found myself actually getting a little giddy on June 30 - one month after my "episode."   We spent four days that weekend with friends and family ... the perfect way for me to celebrate surviving the heart attack.  But, you see, I don't actually want to just SURVIVE after this incident ... I want to THRIVE from it!


Cardiac rebab continues to go well.  I still have to work out within the restrictions of the arthritis but this week I saw something I haven't seen in a while.   Before my forties, I never weighed more than 110 lbs. (excluding two pregancies, of course).   But, the forties came (and went) and with it a more sedentary life-style.  I sat all day at work, was exhausted when I got home and sat some more.  I loved to take long walks with my husband but as work and life demands continued to grow, our time for those long walks lessened ... at least, that became my excuse.  While chasing and playing with grandchildren gave me some much-needed exercise, it still wasn't enough.  Add to that hormonal change and stress, I managed to gain about 40 lbs during that decade.


I'm glad I've been careful about my diet ... so that is one redeeming factor.   I've been able to maintain my weight between 145-150 lbs which, for my build, is still a bit too much and with my health issues, definitely too much.  I am happy to say that after four weeks of cardiac rehab, I saw a definite waist line!  May not sound like much to some but it's very motivating!  I haven't lost any weight but I am losing inches and I'll take it!


When other women hear that I had a heart attack at age 50, they all want to know details.  What symptoms did I have ... did I have any idea that I was a potential candidate for one ... what can they do?   All very good questions.  First of all, you need to see your doctor, the person who knows your medical and family history best.  Find out what your cholestorol numbers are and work out a plan with your doctor and follow it.  If they tell you to change your diet, exercise more, stop smoking, control your stress ... FIND A WAY TO DO IT!


As for the symptoms, I had all of them (see my previous blog).  Since I had a virus just prior to the heart attack, I didn't connect the dots until I was out of the hospital ... but they were all there.   Yes, I did know that I had a lot of the risk factors primarily because of our family medical history; unless by some miracle genetics skipped me then I was definitey a candidate.  Knowing that, I should have done more to prevent it which is why I am now writing this Blog ... to help other women not go through what I did or possibly, worse.


Now, addressing the "what can women do" question I get.  Here's some great information from the Mayo Clinic:

"Although the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity — affect women and men, other factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women. For example:

  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men.
  • Mental stress and depression affect women's hearts more than men's. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment, so talk to your doctor if you're having symptoms of depression.
  • Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
  • Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels (small vessel heart disease)."

 It's like my Mamma always said, "You better take care of yourself because nobody else will!"  Amen!

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