Jennifer Thorson survived a heart attack at age 37 – Go Red For Women 2013 spokeswoman

Jennifer Thorson survived a heart attack at age 37 – Go Red For Women 2013 spokeswoman

August 17, 2019 0 By Bertrand Dibbert


– I found Jen in our TV room. I woke up that morning and didn’t see her. And found her kind of curled up in a ball, and asked her, “Is everything okay?” She’s like, “I didn’t sleep very well. “I think I have reflux.” And we proceeded, Owen was
going to a week-long camp. We needed to get him ready to go. She didn’t look right. She said, “Why don’t you go ahead and “take him to camp, and
I’ll go to the doctor.” By the time I got to the hospital, she is now out of the ER,
and she is in a cardiac unit. (captivating piano music) Nothing added up, that she’s 37 years old, a marathon runner, she eats well, and besides family history, has no reason why this should be her heart. When I find out about the first… Heart attack. It’s Sunday evening, there’s
nobody at the hospital. People are walking back
and forth to their cars. Actually it was a nurse
that told me first. And she said a doctor will
be out in a little bit and she actually didn’t say
the words “heart attack,” she said, “She had 100% blockage.” I’m thinking, is that a heart attack? I had to actually ask the
doctor when he came out, “Did she have a heart attack?” “Yup.” – I was training for this marathon, it was my second marathon so I’d been here before, I know what it’s like. It was getting harder and
harder to run, not easier. It was hurting. But I
just ran through the pain. ‘Cause I just told myself,
“Well, you’re being lazy. “You’re not tough enough,
just toughen up and go do it,” and that’s how I treated myself. I didn’t consider that there
would be something wrong. The EKG was normal, we did
an X-ray, it was normal. Did a CT scan, it was normal. We did echocardiogram, it was normal. They were looking for things like a pinched nerve or a slipped disc, or maybe it was your reflux, maybe it was from running because I was training for my second marathon that summer. I finally was admitted when my enzyme tryptonin levels came back high. But that also can be
explained by distance running. – Jennifer has premature
coronary artery disease, a condition that we are unfortunately diagnosing with increasing frequency. You just need to have at least one of the main risk factors which is present. And typically in about 80% of patients with heart disease will have at least one of the four main risk factors, which are hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, or diabetes. And in Jennifer’s case,
the high cholesterol level was a very significant risk factor, which had not been recognized or treated for several years before she
presented with a heart attack. 2/3 of women who suffer
sudden cardiac death or heart attack have never
experienced a symptom of heart disease in the
past, and Jennifer was certainly one of those individuals who, despite her young age and
very athletic abilities, never had any symptoms
until she presented. – My heart attack was August of 2011, and then this summer I was, again, training for the Twin Cities Marathon. I had approval to do that. I started to notice the
same kinds of symptoms. Found a 75% block in my LAD. So he did angioplasty on that,
and put another stent in. My older son said, “Well,
you could’ve died.” It is proof that this is a
chronic, lifelong illness. I have heart disease,
and I’m going to have heart disease for the rest of my life. It’s going to take things
away from me that I want. I’m no longer allowed to run marathons. My medications, I will
never go off them (laughs). I will just have more and more. And what does that mean
for someone like me, who should have decades ahead of me? I have decades to build up plaque. And how many more times
will I be in the cath lab? Or in the operating room? There are things that I knew,
before any of this happened. I knew that heart disease is
the number one killer of women. I knew that I had a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease. I knew I had high cholesterol. And still, every symptom I had, I could think of some other reason for it. (rhythmic piano music) We have to keep putting that
story in front of people so that these really subtle
symptoms, that could be explained away, trigger
a memory in that woman that maybe it is something more, and I need to be checked out, and I deserve to be checked out. ♫ Come on, come on ♫ What are we all waiting for ♫ Come on, come on ♫ Is this what we’re here for (uplifting piano music)