Personal Stories

There are many types of heart disease but no matter what the type, the experience of living with it can have a profound impact on the patient and those who care about them. Read these stories of patients, survivors and their families sharing their experiences and insights. 

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Working for the Right Organization

Ruth Mercado didn’t feel her doctor was taking her symptoms seriously. Because she works for the American Heart Association, she knew she needed to find a new doctor – thank goodness she did.

Dealing with the Memories

When he was a kid having heart surgeries in 1968 and 1973, no one explained anything about the procedures to him. Like other adults who had heart surgery as children, this contributed to traumatic flashbacks and more.

When Protein Origami Goes Wrong

Understanding ATTR-CM, an underdiagnosed and previously untreatable cause of heart failure.

Be Prepared

Erin Flynn Jay’s father was a heart transplant recipient. His experience led him to help others understand that being prepared — physically and emotionally — is crucial to recovery.

A Stroke at 25

At the age of 25, I had a hemorrhagic stroke. I was helping a church member move that morning. I was told to always expect the unexpected, but I had no idea that life would throw me such a surprise.

Through Thick & Thin

Buffy Gilfoil spent the better part of a decade trying to get to a normal heart rhythm after her AFib diagnosis. She shares insights and lessons from the ups and downs of her journey through multiple treatments.

Living Differently

I used to think I was making the most of life. I was an athlete and a bodybuilder. Outside of the gym, I was on the up-and-up in my career. By all accounts, I was successful. Then my heart failed me … literally.

Not Your Average Heart Attack

Heather Meyer of North Carolina was an athletic, 40-year-old vegetarian getting ready for work when she had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). Life changed after that.

Frank Diaz’s PAD Odyssey, Part 2

In Part One, Frank and Maria had spent the first 18 months of their marriage in and out of the hospital dealing with poor blood flow and lesions that would not heal on his right leg. Read the conclusion of this dramatic story.

Wholly Committed to Being Half the Woman She Used to Be

Her knees ached constantly. Her back, too. She knew why. Having long struggled to control the quality and quantity of her diet, her weight had ballooned to 380 pounds. Now she’s half the woman she used to be and committed to to better health.

You Gotta Believe

On a frigid morning in April 2016, he stood in the parking lot of the cardiac rehab center, looking at the front entrance about 100 feet away. It looked like an impossible distance.

Shock at the Beach

Had just one thing not gone as it did, this sudden cardiac arrest survivor might not have lived to tell this story.

A Letter to My Father

“I realized what your children wanted from you is what my kids want from me – a healthy father who will be around to share in their family’s lives,” writes Tony Westbrooks after receiving the same diagnosis his late father had.

My Dearest Heart …

A transplant recipient writes a letter reflecting on her complex relationship with, and deep appreciation for the heart she’s saying goodbye to.

The (Surprising) Secrets of Long-term Success

Heart attack survivor, Beth Woodard, poses an important question for heart patients: What can we do to make sure our good intentions become good practices? She shares her surprising secrets for success.
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Resources For Patients & Families

Answers By Heart

Answers by Heart is a series of downloadable patient information sheets presented in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read. They also provide room for you to write down questions to ask your doctor.

Check. Change. Control.® Tracker for Blood Pressure

Check. Change. Control.® uses self-monitoring and tracking of blood pressure readings at home to help you achieve and maintain a healthy heart. Sign up today to start managing your heart health!

Glossary of Heart Disease

The term 'heart disease' is often used - but there are many types of disease that come under this category. This companion piece to "The Heart of a Woman" in our Spring 2015 issue provides a list of some of the most common conditions in the heart disease spectrum.

My Life Check

My Life Check® was designed by the American Heart Association with the goal of improved health for all Americans. Any person can make these changes and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference. Start with one or two. Know your heart score.

Patient & Family Support Network

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has created an online community called the Support Network. The goal is to connect people living with heart disease and stroke with others who are going through similar journeys.

Stroke Connection Magazine

For over 20 years Stroke Connection has been the award-winning voice of support, information and inspiration for a vast community of stroke survivors and their families. Now offered exclusively as a digital publication, it's available virtually everywhere.

Watch, Learn & Live Video Library

Here you'll find informative illustrations and animations about a variety of conditions, treatments and procedures related to heart disease and stroke.
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Departments

Heart News

Heart health news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Heartfelt

Articles, poems and art submitted by heart disease survivors and their loved ones.

Life's Simple 7

Improving your health is as easy as minding seven simple health factors and behaviors. Tips and information to help you improve your health and enhance your quality of life.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These heart patients, their loved ones and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.