Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by the American Heart Association.
Go Red For Women :: Kristy’s Story
In her 20s Kristy McKearn was working hard at her career in the Governor’s Office. She was at the state capital and didn’t feel well. She headed over to the nurse’s station to get checked out and was told that her blood pressure was rather high. But given her young age and a lot going on at work, she ignored it and figured it was isolated.
But as days went on, ignoring it wasn’t working. Her then fiancé, now husband, pressured her to see a cardiologist just to make sure everything was OK. Kristy went to see the doctor to appease him but what she found out was shocking.
She was diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Tachycardia. Her heart rate exceeds the normal resting rate and beats at a rate of over 100 beats per minute. Kristy left the doctor’s office in denial. It wasn’t until she began taking the medicines and could feel her condition improve, that she realized this was a real issue.
“I was in my 20s, thin, fit and not what I thought a heart patient looked like,” says Kristy. “I knew that my grandmother had bypass surgery, but I could not believe this was happening me.”
Kristy and Todd went on to get married and her condition was manageable. When they were ready to start a family, three cardiologists advised that Kristy should not carry a baby. The stress and toll that it would take on her heart were more than her body could handle.
They were devastated but went on to have their son Jack through surrogacy. Jack is the biological child of Kristy and Todd and with that he inherited his mother’s family history of heart disease.
“It is important for me to communicate to him through example that a heart healthy lifestyle is a priority,” says Kristy. “We eat healthy and clean as a family and exercise is ingrained into our regular routine.”
While Jack, now 9 years old, has showed no signs of heart disease to date it is always something that Kristy thinks about in the back of her mind. A family history of heart disease is not a risk factor you can change.
What she wants women in Baton Rouge to know is that heart disease doesn’t look like what you think it does. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women. It doesn’t discriminate against age, race, sex, neighborhood, or social status. Control the risk factors you can through diet and exercise. And talk with your family about your family’s history of this disease.
“See your doctor annually and have the conversation about your risk and your family history,” says Kristy. “This is the top health threat of women in Baton Rouge and we need to do a better job talking about this disease so was can save more lives.”
The symptoms of a heart attack in women present much different than in men. Women often experience jaw and back pain, nausea and vomiting and shortness of breath.
Join Kristy, and the McKearn family on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 2. Wear red to show your support for heart disease. It is the #1 killer of women and it is the #1 killer in Baton Rouge. It takes more lives than all cancers combined. Together we can show our support and take a stand to raise awareness. 80% of heart disease is preventable through diet, exercise and knowing your key health numbers.
Wear your red on February 2. Take a selfie and use the hashtag #RSMBGoesRed to join us in showing our support. For more information on National Wear Red Day visit, goredforwomen.org.