Heart Attacks Aren’t Here to Play With You

I saw this and had to share.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It hits extremely close to home for me. I’ve had at least 4 family members pass away from heart attacks, and a few others who were thankfully rushed to the ER in the nick of time. Here’s the link to the article shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Men

Men, please don’t ignore these symptoms. My physically fit dad transitioned at the age of 48 (weeks shy of turning 49), almost one year after having what was clearly a heart attack, but he told me “it’s just indigestion. I just need a little accupressure” yet I knew he had just finished having an argument on the phone over a botched business deal.

My instincts said it was more than indigestion. But I deferred to my dad. He turned to accupressure instead of going to the hospital.

One year later, after a heavy training session at the gym and achieving his goal of benchpressing 400 lbs, my dad had a heart attack a few hours after returning home. He was on the phone chatting and laughing with a business associate and the associate told me days later, “your dad was laughing and then I didn’t hear anything. The line just went silent. I thought we had a bad connection so I hung up and tried calling back.”

I’m the one who found my dad, on the floor of his study, phone also on the floor. I can’t help but to question, “what if I had forced him to go get checked out in 2000, would he be alive today?” The truth is, only God knows the answer to that, and at this point, the only thing I can do is make sure that I’m mindful of the signs and symptoms, and that I share the information with others.

My ex-fiance had two strokes in his 40s and eventually passed due to the toll this trauma placed upon his body. He went from playing basketball to being confined to a bed. If you knew this man you know that he had a zest for life, was always on the go, extremely competitive, and wanted to live a long long life. He hated that he was convalescent. He lived for his freedom. He still had so much to do and see, so many goals and plans, and he was a father—and grandfather. He wanted to be there for his family. He wanted to help open doors for them that took him years to break through. His life here was cut short.

Men, you have family, friends, associates and neighbors who will miss you terribly. Go to the doctor! You don’t want to be poked, prodded and probed. But guess what? You won’t have a say or choice in the matter when your cold body is on the autopsy table. Once or twice a year of doctors examinations is waaaay better than suddenly taking your last breath and never getting to hug, kiss, and laugh with loved ones—in that same body that you keep taking for granted!

Women

Women, as you can see, we have more symptons than men commonly do, and these symptoms are oftentimes ignored as being “something else” when they could be the very thing that can end your life as you know it. Even some doctors ignore the symptoms, so be your best advocate and demand that they scientifically rule out heart-related factors. And when a doctor suggests testing, say yes!

I remember in 2011, after collapsing while cycling with friends, a cardiologist at Emory Hospital (then Crawford-Long), who kept me overnight for testing and observation, because he said he wouldn’t be able to “handle the burden of knowing that I sent you home, you went to sleep, and never woke up. Natasha, we’re seeing this happening more and more with women especially in their 30s…and you are at greater risk because there’s history on your father’s side….let me rule it out and then we can both have peace of mind….

That experience scared the bajesus out of me. But guess what? Until that moment, I had never had full-scale testing on my heart, lungs, brain, etc. The final prognosis was I was extremely dehydrated. Like, I could’ve died, I was that dehydrated. From the tests it showed that I had been dehydrated for several days. Had I not gone to the ER, well you can guess the result. But I want to thank the cardiologist who didn’t just accept this initial diagnosis and send me home with orders to rehydrate. He understood the other less-commonly known symptoms of a heart attack, and he sprang into action. His proactivity has led to my greater awareness.

My paternal aunt, Cheryl, transitioned in her 30s, after a workout at the gym which included weights and laps in the pool. Just like my dad, she was physically fit and loved working out. She wasn’t feeling good when she left the gym and felt worse when she got home. Ignoring the symptoms she decided to take a nap. Long story, short, my beloved aunt passed away that day.

Ladies, I’m not trying to intentionally scare you, but maybe it will encourage you to take this seriously and stop being like we’re conditioned to be—too busy caring for others to care for ourselves. Guess what? You can’t care for others if you’re no longer here. Charity starts first with YOU and for YOU.

Everyone

Don’t dismiss and be casual about your health because you’re not of a certain age. People are having heart attacks as teenagers and in their 20s. When it comes to heart attacks and strokes, age ain’t nothing but a number.

Don’t dismiss this because you’re physically fit. So was my dad and aunt. Heck, I was cycling for goodness sake—and doctors didn’t dismiss the symptoms simply because I was in shape and young.

Don’t ignorantly say, “well there’s no family history, and I don’t drink, smoke, or eat fast food…” because our bodies don’t give a damn about your history and what you do and don’t consume. We’ve learned that just like we don’t openly share our medical history with our family, they too aren’t sharing all of the details of their medical history with us. You only know what you know, and you don’t know much—especially if you have family members like my dad, who never went to the doctor, because either they felt good and rarely got ill, or because of religious beliefs. So that means your family medical history has major gaps in it. Don’t rely upon history to chart your present and future course!

Also, let me add this point: You can have an itty bitty waist, eat a bland diet, and a low body fat percentage, but your mental stress could be taxing your body, causing it to also stress.

If it stresses out over the added stress that you are placing on it: from your ambitious goals, overexertion from working out, and not getting enough quality rest—guess what? Your body is going to sound the alarms and start showing signs that it’s taking on too much stress. If you aren’t paying attention to the alarms and flags, then you significantly reduce your odds of surviving the attack your heart undergoes when it can’t keep up with you and your lifestyle.

We all have dreams and goals. Let’s take the small steps to ensure the odds are in our favor, so we can possibly achieve those goals and see those dreams come true. Let’s do what we need to do to be here for our family and friends. I don’t know about you, but I love spending time with the people that I love. I want to enjoy these moments for as long as possible.

Don’t be embarrassed or prideful about rushing to the doctor, ER, or urgent care, if you feel these symptoms then speak up and get help!

I love you all!!!

~Natasha

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/signs_symptoms.htm

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman.

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