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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Eloyce Mitchell is my friend Carman’s mother. She sent me this powerful image on Facebook and I posted it along with the message that you see below. I knew that I couldn’t possibly tag every woman that I know on Facebook (because I’m bound to forget someone), and I know that not all of them will see the message on my page (because I’m one of many “friends” of theirs on Facebook). So I’m also sharing it here because it’s truly that important to me. Strong women take care of everyone and neglect self.
Heart disease and other ailments are beating the mess out of women because we’re too busy being the nurse, nurturer, supporter, provider, problem-solver, shoulder, ear, cheerleader, and super woman for everyone else—and we don’t invest the time in ourselves. We’re under more stress than ever and our bodies are taking a whooping because on top of the environmental factors that attack our bodies, our stress load is leaving it even more vulnerable.
We’re not using our release valves to take the pressure off of our minds and bodies.
We need to.
Our life depends on it.
Stop hiding behind social media. Stop posting your “glamorous life” when you’re feeling like crap or spiraling out of control. I’m not saying to flood your timelines with posts of misery. What I’m saying is that some of us have taken the phony to the extreme. There’s a huge difference between “fake it until you make it” (which is an aspirational goal-setting approach that has been hijacked) and then there’s pretending like everything is perfect when you’re wallowing in misery.
If you’re depressed you need help. If you need help you need to ask.
Social media can get you caught up and then at that point “you’re straight lying boo” and because you’re constantly in fake-mode everyone around you thinks that you’re doing great and thriving, and we ignore the warning signs that could save you. That’s why we’re hearing more and more these days, “I didn’t know she was in trouble/pain, she seemed so happy…” that’s because no one asks strong women if their okay, we use social media to be the predictor of someone’s life, and to add to this it doesn’t help that strong women have grown accustomed to saying “I’m good. I can handle it” because we just don’t know how to ask for help anymore, or we don’t think there’s anyone who can help, or we don’t know where to go to get the help. So we push through.
That’s not healing that’s denial, all of which adds to the pile of junk that turns into illness and dis-ease. We’re not eating right, sleeping enough and sleeping well, exercising enough, getting quality spiritual uplift, surrounded by enough positive images and people, and then there’s the long list of environmental toxins that attack us daily. We need to take better care of ourselves so that we can live fully, intentionally, and with great spiritual, mental, and physical health.
The Wonder Woman cape is bound to get caught on something and choke you. 
To all of the strong women out there here are the 3 THINGS that I want for each of YOU to do:
 
1) Comment below and tell me how you’re doing, and be honest. We’re good at lying about this. We need to heal, renew, and restore ourselves.
 
– If you’re thriving then yell it loud. So I can celebrate with you.
 
– If you need prayer, then tell me, and you don’t need to go into specifics if you don’t want to.
 
* You can speak in general terms, like “prayer for strength” or “prayer for clarity” or “prayer for healing” or “prayer for new positive opportunities” or “prayer for patience”.
 
– If you’re having a bad day or not-so-good one, and you need a good laugh, then tell me. I’m always down to make someone giggle or roar with laugher.
 
– If you need a hug then let’s meet up and share some good vibes. If we live too far apart to meet up, I will send you a virtual one…heck I might even record myself so you can feel it a little more.
 
2) Choose a day THIS WEEK and MAKE THE TIME to spend taking care of YOU.
 
– I don’t care if it’s at the nail salon, a library, spa, at the park, movie theater, a museum, or sitting in the back of your car with pillows and a thermos of tea while reading a book.
 
– During this time you need to DISCONNECT from everyone and everything. That means EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that would have you investing more time in others than yourself. Pour back into YOU. Recharge for YOU.
 
CHARITY starts with YOU, just like you must put on your oxygen mask FIRST before you place one on others. If you’re not well then you can’t possibly take care of others.
 
Your strength doesn’t matter if you’re no longer around to be strong for others. Too many of us are passing away too soon because we wear ourselves out so much that our bodies just give up from fighting us so much.
 
3) Share this with other strong women so that they too can take a moment to breathe, embrace this message and our need for self-care, and then make the time for some self-love.
 
We ALL must do better and live better. If you still can’t seem to do it for yourself then do it for your loved ones. You can’t be around as long as you would like if you’re not taking better care of yourself.
I love you all.
~Natasha
Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman/Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.