The number one killer can strike anyone of any age
By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection
Michiganders are reminded to keep hearts on their minds as February begins, and not just the Valentine kind. It’s American Heart Month, an annual observance to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease, the nation’s number one killer.
Anna Pitt of Hemlock says she’s lucky to be alive after suffering what’s known as a “widow maker” heart attack, which comes on suddenly. She was getting her son on the school bus when she collapsed.
“They told me at that time I had no pulse,” says Pitt. “They used the defibrillator on me in the driveway, and also three times on the way to the hospital. Now, they said if my son hadn’t done CPR I wouldn’t be here.”
Pitt explains that she had had no symptoms, and with good cholesterol and blood pressure would have never imagined she would be the victim of a heart attack. And because it can save a life, her advice for Michiganders during American Heart Month is to get certified in CPR.
According to the American Heart Association, one-in-three women will die of heart disease, about 46 women in Michigan each day.
Stacy Sawyer, senior director of communications with the American Heart Association in Michigan, says while family history can play a large role in a person’s chance of developing heart disease, there are other risk factors that can be controlled such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and smoking. But she adds heart disease can affect anyone of any age.
“Even newborns who are born with congenital heart defects to the elderly,” says Sawyer. “We have survivors who are just in their 20s. So heart disease is something that everyone of every age needs to be aware of and be proactive against it.”
Sawyer recommends everyone knows their numbers, their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, and speak to their doctor about ways to reduce their risk of heart disease.