Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and 80% of heart disease is preventable, according to the nonprofit WomenHeart.
WASHINGTON – Cathy Backinger and Monique Acosta House know firsthand the importance of heart health. Now they are using their stories to share an important message.
“I think a lot of women don’t know how widespread and devastating heart disease is. If you think of one in four women who die in this country, it is from heart disease,” Backinger said.
“It changed me and it changed the way I see life and how I stand up for myself and how I want to stand up for other women,” said House.
House’s journey of the heart began 20 years ago when she was a senior in college.
“I felt tired. I had a pain in my left arm and I just didn’t feel right, ”House said.
She decided to go to the emergency room, where the doctors scanned her heart.
“It seemed to take a long time before they brought another person in and spoke in hushed tones. I asked if I could go to work and they said I am sorry we have to tell you something. You are very sick. You have heart failure, ”said House.
Fast forward to 2016 when Monique learned she would need a new heart.
“This great heart had worked so hard, but it couldn’t support me, and I was placed on the heart transplant list. I was on the list for five months, I was really sick. Fortunately, I have been blessed to receive the gift of life. I have a new heart, ”she said.
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Backinger said her heart story began a year and a half ago when she was 64.
“I don’t smoke. I always go to my doctor for checkups. I’ve always been healthy and aware of my fitness and health. I’ve always exercised, I do cardio, I do weights. I watch my diet , but none of that was enough to overcome my family history of heart disease, ”said Backinger.
In September 2019, Backinger was riding a bicycle with friends when she felt unusual pain.
“I was starting to feel what I would call a pain in my chest and a tingling sensation in my arm,” said Cathy. “I ended up seeing a cardiologist. She did a series of tests on me and my LAD artery was 95% blocked. I was having a heart attack waiting to happen. “
Heart disease is the leading killer of women in the US, and 80% of the disease is preventable, according to the nonprofit Women Heart.
“I’m fine today, I’ve recovered and I’m just so grateful that I did something about it, even though I didn’t think it was real at first. My message is, even if you are fit and healthy, if you are feel like something is wrong and if you have symptoms take action, ”said Cathy.
Backinger said it is important to take care of your body and see the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
“We have to take care of ourselves because we normally take care of others and we have to make sure that we stand up for ourselves because the only way we can take care of others so well is if we take care of ourselves,” he told Backinger .
Now they are using their stories to stand up for other women to be checked.