Happy New Year!! I am so honored to be writing my third blog post for the American Heart Association. Thank you for reading along! Recently I was able to intern with Dr. Mangaraju Chakka and Stephanie Coleman, APN at CHI St. Vincent’s Hospital. Dr. Chakka is a cardiologist and it was a dream to shadow in his footsteps for a day.
We started out visiting patients who had just recently transferred into the hospital. We asked them how they were feeling, what the hospital could do to make it better, and most importantly, we asked if they had any chest pain. I was able to interact with one patient who was obese and struggling with his heart. While we were in the room he went in distress and shortly afterwards I watched Dr. Chakka replace his pacemaker. Dr. Chakka said, “We need to focus on obesity in our state. If we solved that, we would solve so many problems.” Almost 70% of Americans are considered overweight or obese which puts individuals at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Thankfully, the surgery went well and the pacemaker helped his heart.
This day was not so easy for me though. It was very tough to witness people who are struggling with the same disease that took my grandfather's life. Heart disease affects so many families, no matter the age. More than ever, I am so passionate about being a young advocate for heart disease and plan to promote eating healthy and being active in anyway that I am able to. I did ask Dr. Chakka how many years it took him to go through school to be a cardiologist. His response was amazing. He said, “It took me 15 years of school to do what I do. But don’t do things for the money or the time that it takes. Do it because you want to do it and how you want to contribute to society.” My day in the life of a cardiologist has assured me that this is how I want to contribute to society while helping others around me.
Today, I invite each of you to join me and get involved with the lifesaving advocacy work of the American Heart Association. Add your voice by simply texting ABBY to 46839 or visit yourethecure.org/join. It only takes a few moments, and you will be a part of a powerful movement to save lives right here in Arkansas!
Don't forget February is American Heart Month and Friday, February 2nd is National Wear Red Day so go shopping now and get ready to show us your RED! If you haven't RSVP'd for the Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery Unveiling on February 1st at the Arkansas State Capitol please take a few minutes and read more about it and RSVP HERE. I would love to see you there!
All my best,