Originally published in the Scripps Mercy Hospital Newsletter, July 2018 No. 5
One of our own volunteers, Pat Egan a Woman Heart Champion, pictured below (second from the left), participated in the Women’s Heart Health Event along with Dr. Poulina Uddin and Dr. Kiyon Chung. Additionally, two other Woman Heart Champions shared their story.
Pat shared her story about the heart attack she suffered on August 19, 2015. Pat’s right coronary artery was 100% blocked. Upon arriving at Mercy Hospital, Pat underwent a heart catheterization procedure. Her left anterior descending artery was also 70% blocked.
In order to improve her outlook, Pat enrolled in the cardiac rehabilitation program at Mercy Hospital. The clinic is a medically supervised program designed to heal people after their specific heart event and is staffed by incredibly caring nurses who are well-versed in cardiac care. Pat explained that studies show that there are dramatic benefits to those who enroll and complete the cardiac rehab program. For example, program participants experience a better quality of life, improved strength and endurance and sense of well-being and, most importantly, learn skills to reduce the risk of a future heart event. Even today, Pat continues to exercise at the rehab clinic 5 days a week.
Pat explained to the audience that discussing risk factors should not cause people to be alarmed. Instead, people should be informed. A few risk factors cannot be changed such as age, gender and family medical history.
On the other hand, Pat explained that there are many risk factors that are manageable, including a person’s blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, waist circumference, blood sugar and most importantly smoking! Pat was a smoker up to the day she had her heart attack. She is now 34 months without a cigarette. Pat made numerous other lifestyle changes because “she is a survivor and knowing now matters.”
Pat recognized that some people don’t have the time or money for a fitness center. For those people, Pat suggested ideas on how to do physical activity without even thinking about it as exercise. For example, using the stairs versus the elevator whenever possible, using the office restrooms farthest away from your desk, park farther away from the entrances when you are running errands, walk up and down each grocery store aisle and look at the products you are no longer purchasing.
Along with the life style changes, Pat noted that it important for women to know heart attack symptoms. Pat explained that each person’s heart attack symptoms are different. Many women exhibit the classic chest pain and discomfort with sharp burning pain. Others experience shortness of breath, weakness, unusual tiredness, anxiety, nausea, lightheadedness and dizziness just to name a few. However, other women exhibit no symptoms whatsoever!
In closing Pat reminded everyone in the audience that they must know the symptoms and their own personal risk factors. Most importantly, know when to call 911 because time is of the essence.
So again, don’t be alarmed, be informed and take action today going forward!
On behalf of the outreach team and the heart care line marketing team. I wanted to express how grateful we are for the wonderful help of the Mercy Volunteers “The Blue Crew” were of tremendous value. We cannot express our appreciation for their support and dedication for this event.
Volunteers included: Lindsey Sindelir, Ashley Priest, Juliette Hvistendahl, Alina Falquier, Georgia Thompson, Margaret Driscoll, Kakaii Wango’Olo, Jessica Fletcher and Valerie Lee
Thank you all, George Hayes, Manager, Market Outreach, Marcomm Administration.