February is American Heart Month

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THORNTON, Colo. -- February is American Heart Month. As part of our “2 Your Health” initiative, and our efforts to promote healthy living, Channel 2 has teamed up with the American Heart Association to share patient stories each week this month.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in this country ,and nearly half of Americans have at least one risk factor such as high blood pressure or an unhealthy diet.

Saundra Beaird says heart disease runs in her family. Most family members have not lived past 60. So the Thornton mother made it her mission to eat right, exercise and get screened.

Yet at age 38, her genes caught up to her. She was sitting at work, when she suddenly felt like she was going to pass out. “My chest felt like it was going to explode, my arms went numb, I broke out into a cold sweat. So I set my head down, and I thought oh my God, I`m having a heart attack!” she said.

She was taken to the hospital and eventually diagnosed with severe ventricular tachycardia. “I was rushed into the cardiac unit. My heart beat was almost 300 beats per minute,” she said.

It was a life threatening situation. Over time she had two operations, and her healthy living helped her to survive. “What I didn`t calculate into my heart healthy plan was how detrimental stress can be to your body and to your heart,” she said.

Saundra is now living a more balanced life and wants her three children to know heart disease doesn’t discriminate. “I want to make sure they are around after 60,” she said.

80 percent of heart disease and stroke events can be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

So here are five numbers to know:

  1. Total cholesterol
  2. HDL
  3. Blood pressure
  4. Blood Sugar
  5. Body mass index

Those numbers can help doctors determine your risk!

Saundra wants to raise awareness on this issue. She will participate in National Wear Red day this Friday, February 3rd.