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After heart attack, woman promotes heart health

Cindy Bruce’s heart journey started five years ago. Now, the 66-year-old is sharing her story as a way to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke.

“I woke up on a Friday morning feeling OK, then something had changed and I had some tightness in my chest, like I needed to stretch,” Bruce explains. “I had no idea it was a heart attack. I didn’t think a healthy woman of 61, at the time, could have a heart attack like that.”

Bruce says his family has no history of heart disease. Nevertheless, something didn’t feel quite right, so she went to the hospital to get checked.

“The doctor finally came in and said, ‘You’ve had a heart attack in the last 12 hours.’ I was stunned and so was my husband. We couldn’t believe it,” she added.

Shocked by the news, Bruce was prescribed medication for life, and had regular follow-ups with his specialist.

These days, she lives an active lifestyle and enjoys spending time at the gym and golf.

“I think the bigger adjustment is the mental adjustment. To think that my body is at risk to have something happen to it, we all know it intellectually, but until it actually happens, it’s quite a shock,” says Bruce.

Bruce wanted to share his personal story as a way to encourage others to take control of their heart health.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada says the statistics are alarming.

“Heart disease and stroke are the second leading cause of death in Canada,” says Mary Ann Butt, Heart & Stroke Senior Vice President of NS, PEI and NL

“The most disturbing piece of that information is that women are more predisposed, and there’s a number of reasons for that. A lot more research was done on men, it’s been geared that way for generations, so we’re really trying to turn that around.”

Mary Ann Butt says donations to Heart & Stroke benefit a number of areas including advocacy, awareness, research and education.

“Atlantic Canada has the highest statistics for heart disease and stroke than any other area of ​​Canada, so it’s important for us to understand that we have a lot of opportunity here and we have a lot of work to do,” But explains. “But the donations that are given to us by Atlantic Canadians are very generous, really make a difference in the work we’re able to do here locally.”

It’s for those reasons that Bruce was motivated to do more and get involved with the foundation.

“We are under-researched, we’re under-educated in terms of our own health and the symptoms of heart attack,” adds Bruce. “We’re under-diagnosed, and we have gaps in the care and follow-up for women with heart attacks. So I think one of the key messages is educating women.”