Heart disease is the number one killer of women. One woman who had a heart attack in her 30's has an important message for women.
Jennifer Moreen was hitting the Wyoming ski slopes in March of 2009 when she had a heart attack at the age of 38.
Moreen says, "I felt as if there was an elephant inside my body just crushing my chest."
She was also hot and felt pain in her shoulder and up her neck. The doctors had to give her metal stints to hold together her dissected heart artery. One month later in her bed at home back in Minnesota, she had a second episode.
She called her brother who took her to the ER again. Her heart artery dissected even more and a 5th stint had to be put in. Jennifer was diagnosed with the genetic disease sudden coronary artery dissection. It is rare for a person to even survive the disease.
"I couldn't find anything about women who lived, all I could find was studies after death and that scared me to no end."
After the fear, another emotion, shame.
Moreen says, "I took for granted my health and started exercising later. I was overweight and thought to myself, what have I done to myself that I allowed this to happen?"
Needing more answers, Jennifer decided to go to Mayo in Rochester. They scanned her full body and discovered all her arteries were bumpy, diagnosing her with fibro muscular dysplasia or FMD. She soon became a part of a Mayo study and then one year after her attack, the unthinkable.
She had a third episode while she was on the phone with a friend. She called 911 and got a 6th stint to close her further dissected artery. Jennifer had to find a support system and find people who could relate to her struggles. She's now a part of the Go Red for Women campaign, helping with this years luncheon and she's also on a new billboard, plus she modeled for the fashion show last year.
Nearly 4 years after her heart attack, and overcoming so much fear and pain she and her husband have words of encouragement.
Mike says, "Just try to be supportive." and Jennifer says, "no matter the reason, we should not feel ashamed nobody deserves it. All we can do is pick up afterwards and try harder and do things a little differently afterwards."
For more information, check out www.heart.org/twincitiesgored.