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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Ever Hear of Printzmetal’s Angina?

It is seven months since my heart attack, and it has taught me that even though you are healthy, have normal blood pressure and cholesterol, that you can still have a heart attack. I am writing this to educate and warn people.

How I Found Peace

At age 69, I had no history of heart problems. On Saturday, August 9, 2014, suddenly I felt dizzy and that was the last I remember. My husband found me wedged between the nightstand and the bed. Immediately he called 911.

What a Silent Heart Attack Sounds Like

When the doctor told Roxanne that the back pain she’d had for six weeks was due to a heart attack she was shocked. Within four years, she received the gift of a new heart. She has since recruited thousands of organ donors.

Christie Reinhardt’s Why

Christie Reinhardt was pregnant with twins when she experienced a life-threatening aortic dissection. “They told my family there was a surgery they could try, but I had a less than 10 percent chance of survival.”

Not the Typical Face

When Kimby woke from gall bladder surgery, she felt intense pain in her upper arms and yelled for help. Immediately she was surrounded by medical professionals asking questions about her heart.

I am a Heart Attack Survivor

Before her heart attack, Barbara loved being a mom, wife, vegetarian and healthy. There were no red flags.

Giving Heart

By the time Breana Bladel was 17, doctors had done all they could for her but her heart was giving out. She went on the transplant list in the middle of January 2013. Two weeks later, the Bladels got the call. There was a heart.

One Year

My “pay it forward” is to encourage anyone, man or woman, having any kind of symptom suggesting a heart attack, please have the faith to go get checked.

Cathy Young's Why

“Cathy was on the couch with her back to me when her arm suddenly flew up,” Dennis recalled. “That was strange, so I went over and checked on her and she was already turning blue.”

Overcoming the ‘Chicken-Wire’ Objection

"With a total of four stents will I ever have enough strength to return to normal activities?" I asked. I suspect others who have had surgery or a serious illness are left wondering the same thing.

A Rough Pregnancy

“I couldn’t lie flat to sleep, started coughing while lying down and had to use the bathroom every 45 minutes to an hour.” It turned out Rebecca Stewart had peripartum cardiomyopathy - heart failure due to pregnancy.

Tanya Mathys' Why

When Ken slumped over in the passenger seat, Tanya didn’t have to think about what to do — after all, she is a health educator and has been teaching CPR through the American Heart Association for 15 years.

One Lucky Dude

On August 25, 2010, I earned the title of "one lucky dude." It was awarded to me by "Dr. Andy," an ER doctor I had just "met" that day. The circumstances of our meeting were less than ideal. In fact, they were nearly tragic for me and my family — wife Wendy, son Isaac and beautiful Ashley. We met because of a complete blockage of my left anterior descending artery (LAD).

Double Winner

Patrick Shaw beat cancer, then heart disease. The cancer therapy that saved his life led to heart problems 20 years later.

Lunch Bucket List

One thing some of us heart patients grump about the most is having to change our diets. Give me eight new medications to take? No problem. Try to teach me new ways to manage stress? Sketchy. But eliminate my best friends, salt and fat, from my diet? No way!
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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.