In 2006, a week before we found out we were expecting our son, my mother suffered a heart attack. She was 45 years-old and had low blood pressure and low cholesterol. The morning of her attack she was driving my siblings to school. She felt so awful that she made my 15 year-old brother turn around and drive back home. He called to ask me what an anxiety attack felt like. After getting some more info, it became clear this wasn't anxiety and I told him to take her to the hospital. Thankfully they called my dad first and he called for an ambulance. They told us later she would never have made it to the E.R. She had a heart attack and 12 stents were needed to save her. 12. My mom, who is a bit overweight, but eats pretty well and walks everyday almost died at 45.
My husband was freaked and brought home garlic pills, red wine, and baby aspirin. We were going to take care of my heart now.
I got a positive pregnancy test a week later.
So now four years after my mother's heart attack, to the date I think, I'm still overweight and very much at risk. The facts about women and heart disease are grim:
- Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart disease each year, accounting for a third of all deaths in women. Three million women die from stroke each year. Stroke accounts for more deaths among women than men (11% vs 8.4%) with additional risk for CHD unique to women related to oral contraceptive use in combination with smoking.
- 8 million women in the US are currently living with heart disease; 35,000 are under age of 65. Four million suffer from angina.
- 435,000 American women have heart attacks annually; 83,000 are under age 65; 35,000 are under 55. The average: 70.4.
- 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year, compared to 24% of men.
- Under age 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely as men’s to be fatal.
- 267,000 women die each year from heart attacks, which kill six times as many women as breast cancer. Another 31, 837 women die each year of congestive heart failure, representing 62.6% of all heart failure deaths.
To learn more visit Women's Heart Foundation
So I'm going and I want to start exercising. About an hour ago I pulled out my old sports bras, they were a bit snug but that might actually help. I'm also going to scrounge up the money for some new running shoes that fit my post-pregnancy feet. My idea is to do the Couch to 5k program, but I'd love suggestions if you have them.