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These women aren’t letting heart disease slow them down. Find out what they’re doing to keep their hearts happy and beating strong.

Emily Diamond

“MY HEART IS HAPPY BECAUSE . . .

I am doing the things I love most.”

By Tiffany White • Photos Melissa Donald

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Emily Diamond THREE YEARS AGO, EMILY DIAMOND, 35, COULD BARELY GET THROUGH SOME OF HER NORMAL ACTIVITIES WITHOUT EXPERIENCING PAIN IN HER CHEST AND AN ATYPICAL HEART RATE. “The first

HAPPY HEART Habits

Source: American Heart Association

Pay attention to genetics If one of your family members has heart disease, your risk

increases — especially if

the relative is a parent or sibling. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy

time it hit, I was in a high-impact Tae Bo class,” she says. “I thought I was just out of shape. I was dizzy, couldn’t breathe, and my heart was banging out of my chest so hard it hurt.” The spontaneous heart episodes continued on and off for two years until she scheduled an appointment with her doctor, who implanted a heart monitor inside her chest. After returning from a vacation, Emily had eight attacks a day for two days. She couldn’t get her heart rate to slow down and had to be taken to the hospital. “[The doctors] recorded me having a heart rate spiking to 340 and 410,” she says. Emily’s doctor diagnosed her as having superventricular tachycardia (or SVT) and an atrial flutter. The SVT, she says, caused an abnormal increase in her heart rate, but her doctor was able to correct the problem with surgery. Since then, Emily has been able to live a normal, healthy life that involves managing the Diamond Family Farm. She raises grass-fed, heritage breed and naturally raised cattle, chicken, turkey, lamb, and rabbits in addition to being the mother of three children ages 12, 9, and 8. Her days are long, but Emily says she finds joy in her family and in doing what gives her the greatest satisfaction. “My husband is a huge cut-up. He is probably the wittiest person I have ever met, hands down.” She adds, “My degree is a BS in veterinary technology, which I get to use every day. I love what I do. It’s the perfect blend of everything I love.”

diet, and not smoking are the key components to

staying one step ahead of heart disease.

Adopt a pet Owning a pet — especially a dog —

could lower your risk of heart disease. Pets can provide the companionship

and support needed to help you start a new healthy habit. H-6

2015 HEART HEALTH

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Mary Ann Sanders

“MY HEART IS HAPPY BECAUSE. . .

I make relaxation and laughter a regular part of my life.”

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Mary Ann Sanders AT AGE 43, MARY ANN SANDERS LEARNED TO NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE LIKELIHOOD OF HAVING A HEART ATTACK. She had no family history

of heart disease or obvious risk factors, but when Mary Ann experienced flu-like symptoms in 1993, she knew something was wrong. A few days later, she had the classic heart attack symptoms of sweating, nausea, and arm pain.

HAPPY HEART Habits

Source: American Heart Association

Start on the right foot Through assessing the

pulses in feet, the anklebrachial index test helps diagnoses peripheral

artery disease (PAD). PAD

is a type of cardiovascular

disease that causes plaque buildup in the leg arteries.

“I turned over on my sofa and felt like I had pulled a muscle in my chest,” she says. Her doctor discovered she had 100 percent blockage in one artery. While in the hospital, Mary Ann’s doctor thought she would need open heart surgery, but miraculously her heart problem vanished. “I attribute this to all of the people who were praying for me,” she says. Although Mary Ann, now 66, practiced healthy habits before the heart attack, she has become more conscientious of her lifestyle choices. “I watch my weight, and I try to exercise at least five times a week on my recumbent bike,” she says. On most nights — weather permitting — she and her husband Russ talk and laugh while sitting on their front porch swing. “We also love watching our 5-year-old granddaughter. She makes us forget all of our stress.” Sharing these moments with her family has new meaning for Mary Ann, and she takes nothing for granted. Surviving a heart attack, she says, became the motivator for volunteering as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. “I believe God gave me my life back to do something meaningful with my experience,” she says. “At that moment, I decided I better do something to earn my keep.” Mary Ann takes every opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease through sharing her personal story at the Go Red and Heart Walk events.

Be in sync with your heart Since heart attack symptoms are different for men

and women, knowing the warning signs is essential for saving your life. Go to heart.org to see the list of symptoms for women. H-10

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Lynn LynnCalvert Calvert

“MY “MYHEART HEARTIS ISHAPPY HAPPYBECAUSE BECAUSE. .. .. .

IIgrow growand andeat eatmy myown own vegetables to stay healthy.” vegetables to stay healthy.”

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Lynn Calvert LYNN CALVERT DIDN’T REALIZE SHE HAD HEART DISEASE UNTIL HER MOTHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BRUGADA SYNDROME — A RARE, INCURABLE GENETIC HEART DISEASE THAT CAUSES AN IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT. Her mother, Shirley Tincher, had been

HAPPY HEART Habits

admitted into the hospital for the flu but learned she had the disease after further testing. Although Lynn, 46, hadn’t been diagnosed with the disease, she had experienced bouts of dizziness, shortness of breath, and rapid and irregular heartbeats for 20 years.

Source: American Heart Association

Eat the good stuff Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods to eat for your heart.

They provide important nutrients most people need more of, such

as folate, magnesium,

potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K. They are also low in

saturated fat and calories.

Now concerned about her own health, Lynn scheduled an appointment with her doctors to get tested for the disease. “After several scary tests, my worst nightmare was confirmed,” she says. Lynn was diagnosed with the same condition in 2010. “While relieved to finally know what was wrong, I was terrified.” Lynn and Shirley have defibrillator implants that have dramatically improved their quality of life and longevity. “Because of the defibrillator, we went from a 20 percent chance of survival during an episode to a 90 percent chance,” Lynn says. Lynn still has symptoms often, but she uses a few techniques to regulate the rhythm of her heartbeat, such as lying down while keeping her feet elevated. The average age of death for someone with Brugada syndrome is 42, Lynn says, but she isn’t letting genetics and statistics dictate her quality of life. Instead, she focuses on strengthening her mind and body. “My husband and I bought a farm for many reasons,” she says. “One is that we can grow our own food and eat more healthfully.” Listening to meditative music, walking, or cuddling with her three dogs are other sources of comfort that keep her stress levels down. When she needs a good laugh, Lynn and her kids ages 25, 23 and 16, maintain their longstanding tradition of singing together when riding in the family car. Lynn says that knowing she has the support of her friends and family overrides any negativity she might face. “Each person in my life makes it worth living one more day, and I’m determined to get as many days as possible.”

Get at least 7 quality hours of sleep If snoring affects your sleep, you might need to be checked for sleep

apnea, a condition that can cause life-threatening heart problems. H-14

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Lauren Evanovich

“MY HEART IS HAPPY BECAUSE . . .

I make exercise a priority.”

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Today’s Woman


Lauren Evanovich FOR LAUREN EVANOVICH, HEART DISEASE HAS BEEN A PART OF LIFE SINCE CHILDHOOD. At 10

HAPPY HEART Habits

Source: American Heart Association

Walk, run, jump Any type of physical

activity is a good way to lower your risk for

heart disease or stroke. Schedule at least 30

minutes of exercise five

times a week. If you have high blood pressure or

months old, Lauren had open heart surgery to repair a hole in her left ventricle. But her heart problems continued. During the surgery, her doctors discovered she was born with an abnormal aortic valve known as bicuspid aortic disease. Over time, the aortic valve began to deteriorate, which led to her second open heart surgery at age 24. Her condition caused fatigue, constant dull chest pain, and shortness of breath. Lauren, who lived in Connecticut at the time and taught high school special education, could barely complete the workday. “I was not able to do more than one activity a day,” she says. For her next surgery, the doctors did an aortaplasty on Lauren to reduce her enlarged aorta and added a bovine prosthetic aortic valve. Nearly a year after her second surgery, Lauren, age 27, says she has been symptom-free and has taken on more challenges, which include a 5K she completed last year. She also stopped teaching to pursue a PhD in special education at the University of Louisville. “After my second surgery, I really saw each day I was given as a new start,” she says. Sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly has become a major part of Lauren’s routine. She swims, takes morning walks through Cherokee Park, and travels, which are also good stress relievers. Recovery, Lauren says, hasn’t been easy, but having the support of friends and family has sustained her through the tough times. “I would not be half as healthy as I am without the consistent encouragement and love from near and far,” she says.

cholesterol, the

American Heart

Association suggests

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Knockout stress

doing 40 minutes of

Chronic stress causes a spike in your heart

moderate to vigorous

the artery walls. When under pressure, try

times a week.

time with an organization.

aerobic exercise of

rate and blood pressure, which can damage

intensity three to four

deep breathing exercises or volunteer your

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Go Red For Women

Executive Leadership Team

The Go Red For Women Executive Leadership Team donates their time, talent, and treasure to improve heart health in our community. Volunteers work to increase awareness and education, raise funds to support the mission, and plan the Go Red For Women Luncheon each May. To get involved, contact Jane Merman at 502.371.6014 or email jane.merman@heart.org.

GO RED FOR WOMEN EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM Front Row (L to R): Tammy York Day, Chief Operating Officer,

Middle Row (L to R): Deborah Charlton, President and

Judie Parks, Broker/Owner,

Jessica Sorrels, Attorney, Bingham

Delta Dental of Kentucky, Go Red Executive Co-Chair

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Parks & Weisberg Realtors

Linda Ruffenach, Co-founder, Execuity Lisa Causarano, President Elect, Junior League Louisville

Greenebaum Doll, Open Your Heart Chair

Tonya York Dees, President, York

Norton Healthcare

Cathy Zion, Publisher, Zion Publications Dr. Deb Clary, Corporate Director, Humana Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President

Leigh Pittman, Vice President, Brown-Forman Dana Allen, System Vice President Marketing,

Kathy Renbarger, Metro Vice President,

Charlotte Ipsan, Chief Administrative Officer,

Jane Merman, Go Red For Women Director,

Janey Jennings, Certified Financial Planner,

Deanna Keal, Development Associate,

Amy Ryan, Director of Clinical Learning and

Connie Steller, Executive Territory Manager,

Tim Gornet, Manager, Rapid Protyping Center,

American Heart Association

American Heart Association

Abbott Vascular, Luncheon Program Chair

LOCATION: KADEN TOWERS

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Pattie Imperial, Senior Vice President Fifth

Back Row (L to R): Jill Joseph Bell, Vice President & Chief

American Heart Association

2015 HEART HEALTH

Women First of Louisville

Chief Executive Officer, PMR Companies, LLC

Nancy Hublar, Senior Manager, Blue & Co., LLC Jennifer L. Money, Epic System Analyst, Baptist Health, Kentuckiana Goes Red Chair

Denise Kirkham, Executive Director, Third Private Bank, Kentucky, Fifth Third Bank Management, Inc., Go Red Executive Co-Chair

of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs, Signature Healthcare, LLC

Communications Officer, Passport Health Plan

Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital

U.S. Bancorp Investments Inc. Development, Humana

University of Louisville

Not pictured: Leigh Ann Barney,

EVP-Chief Operating Officer, Trilogy Health Services; Missy Bonsutto, Regional Director of Operations, Caretenders/Almost Family; Lisa Columbia, Local Sales Manager, WHAS-TV; Dr. Kendra Grubb, Cardiovascular Surgeon-Director of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery, University of Louisville & Jewish Hospital.

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Circle of Red/ Men Go Red For Women

CIRCLE OF RED/MEN GO RED FOR WOMEN

Back Row (L to R): Theresa Barnes, Retired Registered Nurse Judie Parks, Ruby Member, Circle of Red

Kristen Augspurger-Loehr, Director,

Sally Snavely, Volunteer Lynn Carrie, Hospital Account Manager,

Dr. Deb Clary, Corporate Director, Humana Janey Jennings, Certified Financial Planner,

Amy Ryan, Director of Clinical Learning and

Linda Humphrey, Owner, Etcetera Emily Allen Kirby, Director,

Missy Norris, IT Manager, Global HR/

Front Row (L to R): April Charlton Leonardo,

Chief Operating Officer, PMR Companies

Dana Allen, System Vice President Marketing, Norton Healthcare

Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Co-Chair and Broker/Owner Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Parks & Weisberg Realtors

U.S. Bancorp Investments Inc.

Corporate, Brown-Forman Corporation

Office of the CEO, Humana

Kim Tharp-Barrie, System Vice President,

President, Home Instead Senior Care

Charlotte Ipsan, Chief Administrative Officer,

Abbott Vascular

Carole Christian, Attorney,

President and Chief Executive Officer, PMR Companies, LLC

Nancy Hublar, Senior Manager, Blue & Co., LLC Tim Gornet, Men Go Red For Women Chair,

Becky Beanblossom, Founder and Connie Steller, Executive Territory Manager, Deborah Charlton, Ruby Member,

Teresa Metzger, Territory Manager, CardioDX Leigh Pittman, Ruby Member, Circle of Red Co-Chair and Vice President, Brown-Forman

LOCATION: KADEN TOWERS

Institute for Nursing, Norton Healthcare

Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs

Manager, Rapid Protyping Center, University of Louisville

Terrian Barnes, Founder & Owner, Fe-Smart LLC Cathy Zion, Publisher, Zion Publications

Proactive Care Strategies, Humana Inc.

Pattie Imperial, Ruby Member,

Senior Vice President Fifth Third Private Bank, Kentucky, Fifth Third Bank Development, Humana

Andy Kim, Vice President, Director of Risk Management, Brown-Forman

Not pictured: Sarah Ahmad-Wilson,

Leigh Ann Barney, Missy Bonsutto, Dr. Rebecca Booth, Michele Coan, Marsden Connolly, Linda Danna, Tammy York Day, Chris Dischinger, Dr. Toni Ganzel, Dr. Kendra Grubb, Jennifer Hancock, Sara Haynes, Peggy Heuser, Leslie Hornback, Wendy C. Hyland, Robert Imperial, Eric Lydon, Katy Mackin, Ruby member; Kathy Minx, Lisa Motley, Shawn Parker, Mary Raible, Debbie Reiss, Kay Richard, Shelley N. Shaughnessy, Kellie Sheryak, Dr. Janet Smith, Mary Ellen Stottmann, Gail Tway, Pattie Dale Tye, Ruby member; Dr. Lori Warren, David Wilson, Robert Wray, Edith Mae Wright, Mary Zappone.

The Circle of Red and Men Go Red for Women represents a group of women and men who have the passion, motivation and inspiration to influence change in their community and across the country regarding women’s heart health. Circle of Red Women and Men Go Red for Women help support the mission of Go Red For Women by making a personal financial commitment to the movement, while serving as ambassadors for the American Heart Association. For more information, contact Jane Merman at 502.371.6014 or email jane.merman@heart.org.

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Today's Woman February 2015 Heart Supplement  

These women aren't letting heart disease slow them down. Find out what they're doing to keep their hearts happy and beating strong.

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