It’s a bit scary when a school friend – who’s a few months younger than you – announces they’ve had a heart attack and need triple heart bypass surgery.
It’s a female friend too. I think people are a bit unaware about the high risks for women.
As the Heart Foundation notes:
Nearly 3 times as many women die of heart disease than breast cancer.
In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor for heart disease, and 50% have two or more.
Heart disease can occur at any age, but the risk increases significantly around menopause.
It is not clear why women tend to get heart disease at a later age than men. However, it is thought that a drop in women’s oestrogen levels, as well as other changes that occur around this time, may be part of the reason.
It’s a sobering reminder that I must get my heart checked. Not only am I around the dreaded “m” stage, but my dad had a massive heart attack a few years ago due to a genetic condition, which I’ve no doubt inherited.
I’ve also had a few scares over the years. I thought my heart was packing it in during the last months of my magazine career. I wore a heart monitor for a day and everything. But it was just palpitations from bullying stress.
My heart started jittering and skittering again during the distress of my marriage separation.
A few months ago, I was sure I was having a heart attack at work when sharp pains developed between my shoulder blades.
It passed in a few minutes and I started scoffing my lunch like nothing had happened.
Currently it just hurts a bit emotionally because life feels so freaking relentless.
But I really need to get that heart health check. And if you’re around my age, you should get one too.
My health has taken a backseat to the medical rollercoaster both my kids are riding.
But it’s important to find time to make sure I’m OK too.
In the meantime, the desire for a healthier lifestyle continues.
I keep catching glimpses of myself in official photos from drinks events, looking old and puffy. I hate it.
I’m trying to be good. I’ve nailed the four or five days a week off booze thing, I’m reducing my sugar and wheat intake and I’ve kicked my scrambled egg and cheese brekkies. I’m down to around one Diet Coke a week and I’ve also cut out garlic, which will be music to DD’s nose.
The garlic thing won’t stop me having a heart attack, but I’ve been wondering if it’s not agreeing with me any more, so I’m testing it out.
Then there are my walks with friends – we’re even planning to do the 7 Bridges Walk – and my tri-weekly Pump classes. I’ve also suggested DD and I revisit our weekend outdoorsy stuff. We used to go bike riding and kayaking, but it’s fallen by the wayside as the demands of work and family have encroached.
Fortunately, my hospitalised friend doesn’t have any heart damage from her attack, but she’s scheduled for surgery on her arteries next week.
Sending her a big, bloggy hug …
Song of the day: Gotye “Heart’s a mess”