Heart Disease, Pig Valves, and Lunch
February 13, 2011
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By: Stacy Sawyer
This past week I've had the pleasure to meet dozens of women who have personal stories as to how heart disease and stroke has impacted their lives. Many of us often believe "It will never happen to me" and we live our lives as if heart disease doesn't kill a woman every minute. Yet these women don't have that luxury.
One young lady I met had open heart surgery as a child then again as an adult. Another who has a family history of heart disease had to give CPR to her father after he suffered a heart attack. Her father didn't make it. Then there's the lady who suffered a heart attack just 8 weeks ago whose doctors deemed her a miracle. Another whose mother cared for her father over 20 years after her was paralyzed by a stroke, to then lose her mother to a heart attack.
Then there are the women who have had their heart valves replaced by pig valves, or more appropriately speaking, porcine valves. Growing up on a farm with lots of pigs, I never would have thought a pig could save someones life. But thanks to medical research it's a reality.
Those realities and discoveries are possible because of the passion these women have in finding a cure for heart disease. Together they have educated hundreds of women on the importance of listening to their bodies. A sore shoulder, pain in the jaw, tiredness, and even shortness of breath are signs of a heart attack. Women often ignore these signs but it's imperative that we educate all our girlfriends on these signs so we can save lives.
These women and hundreds other joined the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement last week. You can too at www.GoRedForWomen.org. Better yet, join the Heart Association for its sixth annual Go Red For Women luncheon on Thursday, February 17, at Horizons Center in Saginaw. The luncheon is a time of celebration and raises dollars to fight heart disease in women. There's still time to register if you'd like to attend. Call the American Heart Association at 800-968-1040.
Communications Director -- American Heart Association
I invite your questions and feedback.
Stacy Sawyer is the Director of Communications for the American Heart Association. She can be reached at (989) 225-7513.
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