Educating Family and Friends on Heart Disease

Heart disease is hard for everyone to process and most people do not know how to address it when it comes to explaining it to friends and family. We have a history of heart disease in my family, so I decided for the new year to make a guide on the different heart conditions.

The guide will include what heart diseases are, symptoms, prevention, the importance of exercise and eating healthy, and how to work with your doctors if and when you get diagnosed.

My family history with heart disease

My uncle recently passed away from an enlarged heart due to high blood pressure. He was not taking the blood pressure medication prescribed to him. When I say heart disease runs deep in my family I am not exaggerating.

My cousin has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, and my grandfather had several heart attacks and strokes due to heart disease. One of my dad's cousins also died very young because of heart failure. My dad’s brother recently had a quadruple bypass a few months ago. My grandfather’s brothers all died from heart disease and never made it to 70 years old. My uncle was born with a hole in his heart and I fear that someone may have heart disease in the family and not know.

In creating this guide, I hope to help people, especially my family members, understand the importance of heart health. I feel like people are so oblivious to heart disease until it hits close to home and even with that some people won’t change until it happens to them.

What will my guide contain?

The guide will have a glossary with all the heart diseases, such as heart failure and cardiomyopathy. I will focus on diseases that run in my family because of the importance of heart health.

It will also include cardio exercises like walking because walking is free for everyone. Since I have a background as a personal trainer, strength exercises will be included in that.

Another thing that this guide will have is how to eat healthily. Many people think that eating healthy means eating a green salad with lettuce and that’s it. I want to go into detail about what exactly eating healthy is and encourage people to eat more fiber, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

The importance of educating friends and family on heart disease

I feel like some people are afraid to go to the doctor because of what they may say or find. After I was diagnosed, my brothers and my mom went to the doctor to make sure their hearts were in good condition. My dad however never went to go get his heart checked due to fear of what the doctors may or may not find.

His brother, my uncle whose daughter has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, never got tested either. People fear doctors for many reasons, but most people, avoid going to the doctors and doing exams because of what the end result will be. Some people do not trust doctors because of previous trauma or from stories they heard from someone close.

My greatest hope in creating this guide is that my family reads it and is encouraged to make the necessary changes in their lives. I feel that if they do follow the guide they can prevent what I went through in my heart journey.

Had I known I had dilated cardiomyopathy, I could have been receiving the necessary treatments and perhaps prolonged the heart transplant I eventually had to have. I just do not want anyone in my family to have to go through what I went through.

If educating them is a way of prevention, I will do whatever it takes.

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