Bleeding Heart Project Health

My Story: What Does Heart Disease Look Like? Do I Look Sick?

Tell me this, does the girl below look like she has heart disease?

Most people would say no…

But guess what, I do!

If I had a dollar for every time somebody told me, but you don’t look sick, I swear I would be rich! The look of astonishment on peoples face when I tell them I have heart disease is priceless. It gets me to wondering what does someone with heart disease look like? Maybe they are old? Maybe he or she is fat?

In the emergency room, I was 28 when I was diagnosed!

What does having heart disease look like? 

Let me give you the back story: I had just had my son a month earlier, I was finding that everyday activities were causing me to be short of breath. Then all of a sudden I started getting this dry uncontrollable cough but surprisingly I felt fine.  I knew it wasn’t the flu because I didn’t have any other symptoms.  Then one day the cough just went away.  Doing even the smallest task left me gasping for air. This went on for weeks call me stupid but I assumed I was out of shape from just having a baby.  I hadn’t completely lost all the weight so I figured this was the cause of my problem. Boy was I wrong!  By the time I arrived at the hospital I could barely breathe. After doing some at home research I had self diagnosed myself with pneumonia.  And I was right! The doctor came in an said Ms. Stroud you have pneumonia, I thought to myself cool give me my medicine so I can go on with my life. The doctor left my room and as time passed by it became clear that this wasn’t just a simple case of pneumonia. The doctor preceded to tell me that I needed a blood transfusion and that my heart had suffered some damage.  I would need to see the cardiologist immediately. After being admitted to the hospital the cardiologist came to see me the next morning and I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and six months later congestive heart failure( I will tell you more about these conditions later). I guess he could tell by the look on my face that I didn’t completely understand what any of this meant or how serious it really was. He said “Ms. Stroud,  you could’ve dropped dead!”  You see, by the time I arrived at the hospital my heart was only working at 27%, the minimum they like to see is 50%.

Life as I had known it had changed in the blink of an eye. All my assumptions about people who had heart disease went out the window as I had now joined them. Thank God I had pneumonia or else I might not had discovered my condition and you may not be reading this post.

What I want to leave you with are two things… Heart disease does not discriminate. I don’t care how fabulous you think you are, how young you may be, how skinny you are, YOU too can get heart disease. Lastly, when something doesn’t feel right, go to the DOCTOR! It may be nothing but it’s better to be well informed than to wait til it’s too late. A lot of people drop dead from heart attacks etc. don’t be heart disease’s next victim!

So, again I ask what does someone with heart disease look like?

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