In February, many "heart stories" are shared that tug on your emotional strings. Instead, I want to tap you on the brain to pass along this important message: Don't have a heart attack!
After my double bypass in 2014, I asked my surgeon, “You just saw my heart - how does it look?” He smiled and said, "Great! Because you haven't had a heart attack, you don't have damage to your heart muscles. You're good for the next 50 years."
All in the family.
What I DO HAVE is heart disease in my family. My brother had a heart attack at 49, my dad had open heart surgery and a stroke that ultimately killed him. Something else to know about me: I DON'T HAVE high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
What I DID HAVE was symptoms that were barely noticeable. I exercise a lot and eat right. But, one day after high intensity aerobics (when my heart rate was up for an extended number of minutes), I felt different. Just not right.
Because of my HISTORY OF HEART DISEASE in my family, I took the initiative to have my heart checked out.
Now, here is a thump on your brain from me to you: Pay attention! Your body, your symptoms and your life are too important to ignore or put off.
My cardiologist told me that people come in and tell him that they have been feeling this way for a year or two before having a heart event. Really? A year or two!
Take the initiative and get to a doctor. For me, with two stints and a bypass later, my heart is good.
You can have a healthy, happy heart too. Get going.
Margie P. Jepson is a You're the Cure advocate from Madison, Mississippi. She is a heart disease survivor and volunteers with the American Heart Association as a Red Dress Ambassador and member of the Mississippi Advocacy Committee.