Fiona was hesitant to call an ambulance, but as the shooting pain climbed up and down her arm her husband encouraged her to call for help.
She waited six hours before being seen by a doctor after arriving at emergency at 1.30am. In that time, her heart failed and she now lives with irreparable damage to her heart.
Now 41, she wonders if she looked ‘too young’ to be experiencing a heart attack and taken seriously. It was important for Fiona to look back and understand the risk factors of heart disease, as now, she describes herself as a walking time bomb.
“I was on the pill, smoked occasionally, had high cholesterol, and had a family history of heart disease but I didn’t realise I was at risk because I ate healthy and exercised.”
At only 19 years old, Simran is a heart attack and cardiac arrest survivor.
Suffering from anorexia nervosa for 10 years caused intense stress on her heart, and when she was at her lowest weight of 32kg, she had multiple cardiac events. It was due to her traumatic heart issues, and the blunt truth from her doctors telling her she would die if she continued this way, that Simran decided to seek help for her anorexia.
Simran did not initially take her heart issues seriously and was confused as to how she could have heart issues at 19. Now she is sharing her story to help educate others on the effects of eating disorders on the heart.
Marney was diagnosed with coronary artery disease at 35 years of age.
The news came as a surprise, as it was only discovered due to side effects of a medication she was taking for narcolepsy (a rare sleep disorder). She considered her lifestyle to be healthy and only had one major risk factor: the death of her father to the same disease.
Marney is grateful that she was diagnosed early and is now taking medication to prevent any major blockages that could cause a heart attack.
Marney says with the help of organisations like Her Heart, early detection and prevention will save women’s lives.