Heart to Heart
Heart to Heart

After surviving a rare coronary artery dissection and massive heart attack while nine months pregnant, Nefertari has devoted her life to uplifting other heart patients and promoting heart health awareness.

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The Not-So-Usual Risk Factors

Although I had none of the classic risk factors for heart disease when I suffered a massive heart attack, looking back, I realize that I could have done a better job monitoring my heart health. I must admit that I haven't always followed the tips that are given for continued heart health. I thought that keeping my weight down and eating healthy was enough. However, there are some things that I didn't take as seriously as I should have.

For example, I've read that regular visits to the gynecologist can reduce your risk for heart disease. Scheduling that visit wasn't a priority for me unless I was pregnant (which, as a mother of five, was fairly often). Otherwise, I would put it off. Since my heart attack, I’m sure to keep my appointments scheduled as recommended. Although none of us look forward to those cold stirrups or the Pap smear, they can be lifesavers in more ways than one.

And then there are the teeth. I would have never thought in a million years that oral hygiene could affect heart health. I am now told that brushing at least two times a day and flossing regularly can prevent bacteria from my mouth from causing further damage to my heart. I'm aware that some say it doesn't affect the heart and some say it could so I say why take the risk and I am sure to brush daily! After experiencing the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest, I don’t need to hear that heart advice twice!

Although stress is a "usual" risk factor, I believe it is the one we battle with the most. You may not be able to avoid stressful situations completely but you can reduce the impact of them significantly. I have changed my whole outlook on life...I don't rush through it. I stop and smell the roses. Even if I have to "pencil it in", I take the time to relax. I cut back on stress by staying organized. I have to do this now. I cannot move quickly anymore nor can I withstand being frazzled. I have to be organized so that things move as smoothly as possible.

These heart health tips may not be the ones you usually hear about, but they are good, everyday habits that you can adopt to lower your risks. Following this advice may save or prolong your life, plus you'll have fresher breath!

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After surviving a heart attack, Nefertari has devoted her life to promoting heart health awareness.

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