Monday, August 16, 2010

Battling the Silent Killer

High Blood pressure may well be the thing that actually takes me down one day. That's the cold hard facts.

I have battled my blood pressure for almost 24 years now. That's right - 24 vessel damaging years.

Most of it (at least 80% of it) is my fault. I LOVE salty food. I basically stopped exercising around 26 and let my weight slide up the scale. I stress more than the average person. I retain water more than a sponge.

Add to that a strong family history, and the fact that I am a woman (#1 killer of us!) - it was dooms day for me all along.

But here's the thing - it does not have to stay that way. One thing I have learned by working for and writing stories for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association is this - it can be controlled.. and I can add years to my life.

I have made a few choices and changes over the years. I am getting better every day and the BP is under control. But it will always be the the silent enemy of mine.

Why am I sharing this with you?? I am raising money for the Start! Heart Walk that is going to take place this weekend in Birmingham. I made a personal commitment to raise $1,000. Unfortunately, I am a terrible fund raiser and I only got as far as $50, and I am grateful for that amount!

Here's the thing, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, or to ignore what I am writing. If you think you can help out - then I would appreciate it! You will notice a bar at the right corner of my blog (it is green and looks like a thermometer. Please click on it and make a donation. If you choose to do so online, the lowest amount it will accept is $25. If you would like to make a smaller donation, please mail a check or cash to:

American Heart Association (make the check out to this also)
ATTN: Nicole Abdou
1449 Medical Park Drive
Birmingham, AL 35213.

Make sure to send it to my attention, so I can credit it to my personal campaign.

I would also like to personally invite you to the Start! Heart Walk on Saturday, August 21st at Linn Park. Go to: for more information. It is free and open to the public. If you would like to walk on "my team" - Destination: Health - I would love to walk with you.

There will be tons of activities for kids and great health screenings and entertainment for adults.

I am truly making an official (though I have talked about it often) commitment to coming off my blood pressure meds. That is my goal. In order to do that - I have to stick to the Mediterranean Diet and exercise for one hour at least 5 days a week. It is possible. But I need your support.

Just so you know, the money you donate really and truly goes back into research and education. I would really love to shock my co-workers and actually make my goal - I know they think I won't. (Because I have not really gotten into it until now) - but I always said, I like a last minute push to get me to do anything!

If you can't donate, even a $1 - promise me you will make a difference in taking care of your heart health. Heart disease is the #1 killer of all Americans. Stroke is #3. Plus, Stroke is the #1 adult onset of disability.

My commitment to making this official - and YOU guys holding me accountable - I will commit each Friday to reporting out what I have done, how I am doing it and where I am in the journey.

I just found out my 64 year old father now has a leaky heart valve and is heading toward congestive heart failure. He is a diabetic and has high cholesterol. My 59 year old mother is a diabetic and has high blood pressure.I watched my grandmother die due to complications from heart disease and diabetes. I called 911 as a child when I saw my great grandmother have a heart attack right before my eyes. I lost a best friend to heart disease - he died in his sleep due to sleep apnea.  He was 36 years old.

I cannot .. under any circumstances allow myself to become a diabetic (one of the leading contributors to heart disease.) I can reverse the BP problem.. and I can make a difference.

I know I have talked about it.. but I got off course. This time.. with the threat of my father's life - I am awake and I see.

With that - please remember - share if you can in the fight financially. I promise to take lots of pics and I will place a name on our memorial wall for you also... if you would like for me to walk for someone you love. (Or maybe it is YOU!)

Thanks .. and know if you can help, it means the world to me!

For more stories on my struggles and scares with my health click on the following posts. I highly recommend you reading them. It could save your life.:

Hey, What's Up DOC?
I did it .. Finally!
Health Update
It's Harder Than It Seems
Lifestyle Changes are T-O-U-G-H
There's a Demon on my Chest
The Pain of Health
Overly Medicated
Sleep Apnea 100%
LAst Night to Sleep Like a Normal Person


Anonymous said...

My dad's family is riddled with heart problems. My dad has high blood pressure. My uncle, the oldest, died of a massive heart attack at the age of 42, right in front of his two youngest children. My aunt was born with a couple "holes" in her heart. My grandmother has a fake valve (it ticks when her heart beats), and she's had at least three strokes. My grandfather had a heart attack when my dad was 17, has gone through a couple open heart surgeries, and almost died a couple years ago due to fluid build up around his heart (he's a fighter).

Blah. It's all horrible, and something I've had in the back of my mind through most of my life. I know I gotta I keep myself well, or else face a grim future.

Nicole said...

Cassandra - thanks for sharing! It is a tough thing to inherit - but you are right, being aware now - will make all of the difference. I was aware, and chose to ignore. Learn from my mistakes - b/c by the time you hit 30, you will be happy you took better care of your body. I need to get out of the south too much fried food and too damn hot to go for a walk!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely thing you are doing here my friend. Being havocked with heart related issues myself, I totally understand the importance of such a thing...Take care of yourself!


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