Mississippi residents give allegiance to American Heart Month
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - This month, people in South Mississippi and across the country are focusing on cardiovascular health, as February is American Heart Month. The focus this month is prevention of heart disease.
Sherry Schultz is one of those people. She’s an Ocean Springs resident who went to the emergency room on May 19, 2021 after experiencing aches in her body.
“They did a CT scan to see if maybe the scopes missed something,” said Schultz. “That’s when they saw the bottom half of my heart that it was swollen, and because it was swollen, they requested an echocardiogram, and that’s when they saw in my heart function was not very good.”
The doctors told her that she had heart failure. She said it shocked her.
“For, like, 30 minutes, I just sat in the hospital room like, ‘Am I dying?’” she said. “I’ve got four kids. I can’t leave my babies.”
She said her doctor treated her with medication to strengthen her heart. She spent a week in the hospital. When she was discharged, she could barely function.
“At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom and I was homeschooling my kids,” she said. “Not being able to give them what they needed made me feel horrible. I felt like I was failing my family, and I didn’t like that.”
More than 800,000 people in the U.S. die from cardiovascular disease each year. About 160,000 of those deaths occur in people under the age of 65.
Dr. Umair Malik, a cardiologist in the Memorial Health System, said there are things you can do to stay healthy.
“Exercise, walking, being physically active is one thing that goes a long way in terms of preventing heart disease, such as blockages in the blood vessels that feed the heart muscles,” Malik said. “The other thing is eating healthy, more foods, more vegetables, and less of the fried food that we eat.”
Schultz said she’s feeling better, and she lives every day for her family.
“I started appreciating my days better,” she said. “My thing is as soon as you feel bad, go do something about it, even if it’s a stomach virus.”
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