Help me be a Heart Walk Hero!
Did you know that the AHA is working towards healthier lives for ALL through their research? AHA reseach makes a difference daily in the lives of heart and stroke attack survivors.
My wonderful friend Lauren is a survivor, and I am proud to share her story below. She is why continuing research matters, and why I am proud to support an organization committed to longer, and healthier lives for all. Her story, in her words, is below.
"Friday, September 13, 2002, I underwent my 1st heart surgery. I was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson’s White Syndrome, a congenital heart disease when I was a junior in college. It is an electrical abnormality of the heart that causes a very rapid heart rate. The condition can be fatal.
I discovered I had this heart condition when I was a Resident Assistant at UMass Amherst. After a long day of moving my residents into the hall, my heart started beating very rapidly and wouldn’t slow down. After several minutes of prproblem-solvingith my RA peers, we called 911 and I was taken by ambulance to the local emergency room. When the EMTs hooked me up to the EKG, my heart rate was 280 beats per minute (60-80 is normal resting heart rate). I was in what is called atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can lead to ventricular fibrillation which can cause immediate shock and death. The EMTs informed me (after they got my heart under control) that had I reached 300 beats per minute, my heart would have shifted into ventricular fibrillation.
To get my heart rate back to a somewhat normal rate, the EMTs used in IV medication called adenosine which chemically stopped my heart to get it to restart in a normal sinus rhythm. The first time they pushed the medication it didn’t work, so they had to administer it a second time. The medication has a short half-life and runs its course very quickly. So, technically, I’ve been dead…twice. Two weeks later, on Friday, September 13, 2002, I had my 1st heart surgery.
On 8.10.09 I under went my second heart surgery to fix my patent ductus arteriosus (I was born with a defect that connected my aorta with my pulmonary artery which allowed oxygenated blood from the aorta to mix with unoxygenated blood in the pulmonary artery). A small titanium coil was inserted into my heart to close this connection.
The heart is an incredible and resilient part of our body. Today and every day I am grateful for its life-giving power. And that is why I choose to be well, to push myself to be stronger and to be healthier. I feel very lucky to be alive and to have a healthy heart.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. Many heart diseases are preventable with a healthy diet and exercise. At the risk of sounding cliché, this issue is near and dear to my heart. Let’s all make a choice to have happy, healthy hearts! - Lauren"