Heart Health

I know that many of my readers are very healthy young women who may pay attention to their “fitness” purely from the basis of looking good in their clothes. Your experience with heart disease may be an association with an older relative or family friend. In essence, you may think that heart disease is an “old person’ issue. That is far from the truth! Heart disease manifest itself in many forms including genetic problems and those brought on by poor diet and lack of exercise.

I can tell you first-hand about the importance of a healthy heart. While still in junior high, I began having odd feelings in my chest, like my heart was racing even though I was sitting still. Sometimes I felt that it was hard to breathe. These attacks happened randomly with no apparent trigger. I would frequently have to stop what I was doing and sit down for fear of fainting. Initially, the doctor thought I was having panic attacks. To gain a better understanding of what was happening inside of me, the doctors suggested that I wear a portable heart monitor. I looked a bit odd walking around school with wires connected to my chest and a plastic box hooked to my waistband.

Eventually, I was diagnosed with super ventricular tachycardia, which is a type of uncontrolled, rapid heartbeat which is a defect in that way the body tells the heart to beat. The cardiologist had a plan to correct the problem using a minimally invasive procedure, but the fact that they had to stop my heart to make the repair was quite frightening. The concept that I couldn’t take my health for granted became a reality.

Whether your heart is perfect or imperfect like mine, it is vital to living an active life. Think about what you do to take care of the heart - that takes care of YOU!

As ambassadors for the American Heart Association, I urge you to visit www.heart.org, to learn how to be heart healthy.

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012


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