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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Women's LifeStyle Magazine February 2020 - Erick Gerson, Jordon Carson and Eva Aguirre Cooper

Feb 01, 2020 07:45PM ● By Two Eagles Marcus
The numbers behind heart disease in women are staggering: It is the number one killer of women. One in three will die from it. 80% of these deaths are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and abstaining from smoking. Cardiovascular diseases kill more women than all forms of cancer combined. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2018, there exist significant gender differences in the management and outcome of cardiovascular disease, leaving women at even greater risk. 

This month, we are celebrating our annual partnership with the American Heart Association on a mission to save lives by sharing stories of women who have survived heart disease and deadly cardiac events. 

Meet Meredith Sedelbauer, a young mother who contracted a fatal infection in her heart after giving birth to her daughter. Sedelbauer’s symptoms — which included memory loss, loss of mobility and vision, and migraines — were disregarded as postpartum depression and the flu. When the infection rendered her unable to walk, doctors finally diagnosed her with endocarditis and rushed her into open-heart surgery (24). 

Isidra Rufino shares the harrowing story of giving birth to her daughter shortly after immigrating from Mexico. Born premature with a congenital heart defect, Rufino was met with the devastating news that her baby would live only a few short weeks. After a medical social worker urged Rufino to seek a second opinion, her daughter overcame the odds and is now a healthy 19-year-old woman pursuing a degree
in nursing (22).

Four years ago, Paulette Cancler’s day began with what she thought was heartburn, but gradually escalated to shooting heart pains. While dialing 911, she collapsed, waking up 10 days later in a hospital bed. Cancler survived what is known as a “widow maker” heart attack, in which 100 percent of the left anterior descending artery is blocked (20). 

These stories impart the urgency behind achieving equity in healthcare for women and raising awareness for the silent dangers our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and friends are living with every day. We can save each other’s lives by supporting healthy choices, learning our risk factors, knowing our numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI), and advocating for equal treatment in our healthcare systems. We invite you to join us in this mission, whether it be by sharing one of the stories you read in this edition, talking to your loves ones about their heart health or by attending the Grand Rapids Go Red for Women Luncheon on Feb. 13, at Notos Old World Italian Dining, where you can learn more from a panel of experts, hear survivor stories and contribute to a silent auction. We hope to see you there!