world heart day

Today’s World Heart Day. For me, this day is one I try to use to honor my mama’s memory and educate people about the disease that took her away from us.

Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me about the intricacies of what happened to her. This video does a great job of going over mitral valve stenosis–which is the thing that caused my mama to present with congestive heart failure a few days before Halloween in 2004.

In my Mama’s case, her condition was fairly rare and treatment was not simple. You can read more about it here.

Heart failure, on the other hand, is NOT rare. 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with it in their lifetimes. 1 in 9 deaths in America cite heart failure as a contributing factor. A person is diagnosed with heart failure every minute. It can be subtle, but its effects are devastating and leave permanent marks on the lives of the people we love and our families.

If you have a cold you just can’t seem to shake, chronic wheezing or coughing (like a smoker’s cough) that won’t go away, a racing heart, or exhaustion, PLEASE go see your doctor and get checked out. In my Mama’s case, for weeks, she thought she had a nasty flu. Contrary to popular belief, heart disease is not always caused by smoking, poor diet, and excess weight. Things like sleep apnea and undiagnosed conditions often are factors.  The AHA has LOTS of resources to get help.

These things are super scary, and I’m the first person to admit I hate going to the doctor. But I’ve learned the hard way that it’s always better to know than not know, and the scariest thing I can imagine is never as bad as I think it will be.

More than likely, someone you love (or you) will eventually encounter this disease. I urge you to take good care of yourself and bug those you love to do the same.

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