Friday, February 22, 2013

Heart Disease Awareness Month

Did you know that February is heart disease awareness month?  You did?

Did you also know that heart disease is the number one killer of women?  Yup.  Heart disease kills more women than cancer.  Don't believe me?  Check out the American Heart Association's website.

Told you.

Now, I want to tell you something else...

Two years ago, this month, my sweet little Ellie was in a 3 year old preschool class.  Her teacher, we'll call her Mrs., was amazing and all of the children adored her.  One February morning, I was volunteering at the preschool, it was time to start the day and Mrs. hadn't arrived yet. 

The staff was getting worried as this was completely out of the ordinary for Mrs.  I told the director of the school that I drive past Mrs.' house to get to school and there were no traffic issues that could be holding her up. 

Since I'm on the preschool's substitute teacher list and already in the building, I was asked to sub in Ellie's classroom until Mrs. got there.

Mrs. never made it to school.  One of the people (or maybe it was more than one person) in charge of the preschool went to Mrs.' house and an emergency medical team found Mrs. still in her bed.  She had passed away sometime that morning.

I found out after preschool was over and the kids had all been picked up.  That weekend, I had to talk to my three year old about death.  I'll spare you the details; it was awful.

From what I understand, Mrs. died from arrhythmia, a change in the normal beat of the heart.  When the heart beat changes, the heart doesn't circulate blood efficiently and other major organs suffer and shut down.

There are risk factors for some types of arrhythmias and I believe Mrs. had some, but arrhythmia can occur without warning.

You can read all about arrhythmias here.

Take care of your hearts, friends.  Think of who you'd be leaving behind.