A few months ago, one of our participants in my marathon/half marathon training program was having a lot of trouble breathing during a long run and nearly passed out. We had all been concerned about how thin she is and how she always seemed to have trouble running. She ended up having heart surgery to remove a blockage and, astonishingly, returned to finish the program and still plans to run the upcoming marathon with us.
Heart disease is an issue for my husband's family and I worry about his health, how much longer we'll be growing old together, and whether it will affect our children later in their lives. He is a chain smoker and his job keeps him sedentary. Just last week, he lost another of his good friends, also a smoker, to heart disease. His best friend from college, another chain smoker, died in his 40's of heart disease, leaving his wife and four children behind. The week before last Christmas, one of my friends, a former colleague, was in hospital and near death. That was not the first time for her.
Because I was raised eating fresh, whole foods and leading an active lifestyle, and there is no history of heart disease in my family, I thought I was immune. Not. About three years ago, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and had experienced a sudden weight gain of over 25 pounds (largely due to menopause), making me a good candidate for future heart issues. Now, I try to impart to anyone I can the importance of teaching your children good health habits and not leave awareness of any health-threatening issues shelved until it's too late to reach out to those we love and care about.
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